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Academic Search Complete Help Guide
Here is how to search in Academic Search Complete for an article:
- Enter the key words of your topic in the text entry box/es at the top left of the screen. Try to include only one word or two word phrases in each box.
- Narrow your search by choosing to search by author, subject terms, or other options by using the drop down menu next to each text entry box. If you do not pick an option, you are performing a general keyword search. In other words, the database will look for your terms in any part of the article record.
- Click on the select box for "Full Text" under "Limit your results" to find only articles that appear in their entirety in this database.
- Click on the select box for "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" under "Limit your results" to find only articles from scholarly (research) journals.
Once you have entered the search information listed above and hit the "Search" button, the following information and options will appear:
- Results appear in reverse chronological order (most recent first). You can change it to sort by relevancy ranking by clicking on "Date Descending Sort" directly above the title list and choosing "Relevance" from the drop down menu.
- To see one of the articles listed in your search results, click on the title of the article.
- On the left hand side, you can narrow the results by selecting different subject headings, dates, publication types (journal or magazine article), or other options. Some examples include:
• Marking the check box for "Full Text" and "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" to remove any articles from the results list that do not appear in full in the database and that are not from scholarly (research) journals.
• Entering the beginning and ending dates in order to limit your articles to ones published during the entered range.
• Marking the check box for one of the subjects listed under "Subject: Thesaurus Term" to hone in on one particular topic of interest.
Once you click on an article title, the following options and information for the article record appear:
- If you click on "PDF Full Text" on the left side of the screen, you can see the whole article, including images and graphs.
- You can either print or e-mail the article to yourself by clicking "Print" or "E-mail" on the right side of the screen.
- Clicking "Cite" on the right hand side of the screen will cite the article in APA, MLA, Chicago, or Turabian style.
- The "Abstract" found in the middle of the article record provides a short summary of the article.
- If you click on one of the "Subject Terms" listed above the abstract, you can find more articles about the subject selected.
General Tips for Searching
- Truncate your terms with an asterisk (*) to find more results. For example, type comput* to find the words computer or computing.
- Search for exact phrases with quotation marks (“”).
- Use just a few key words in your search. The database will not look for common ‘stop words’ like: been, however, so, or, in, etc.
- Check the “Subject Terms” at the top of the search screen to find the best words to use in this database.
- When a singular word is searched, the plural and possessive forms of that word will also be searched as long as you do not put your search term in quotation marks (“”). For example, a search for the phrase alley cat could also search for all of the following: alley cat, alley cat's, alley cats, alley's cat, alley's cat's, alley's cats, alleys cat, etc.
Need additional help?
Ask a Reference Librarian!
- Des Plaines Campus Library, 2nd floor, 847.635.1644
- Ray Hartstein Campus Library, Room A200, 847.635.1474