Academic Search Complete Help Guide

The following is a description of how to search for articles in Academic Search Complete.
Access our printable handout for sample screen images that correspond with the explanation.


Here is how to search in Academic Search Complete for an article:

Enter in the search term box/es the key words of your topic. 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 in the drop down menu next to each search term 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.

Under the search options, you can choose to narrow your search parameters in "Limit your results" in the following ways:

  • Full Text: Click the select box for "Full Text" to find only articles that appear in their entirety in this database.
  • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals: Click the select box for "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" in order to find only articles from scholarly (research) journals.
  • Published Date: Limit by year of publication by entering a starting and ending year in the first and second "Year" boxes.

Results List

Once you have entered the search information listed above and clicked the "Search" button, the following information and options will appear:

Results appear in Date Newest order (most recent first) under the search term boxes.

To see one of the articles listed in your search results, click on the title of the article.

If you did not narrow your search parameters before you clicked the "Search" button, you can now refine your search by using the options on the left hand side.

The left hand navigation also allows you to limit your results further by selecting preferred subject headings prevalent in the results. To access this feature, click "Subject: Thesaurus Term" to see the subjects, and then select the subjects relevant to your search.

Article Record

Once you click on an article title, the following options and information for the article record appear:

Subject Terms: By clicking one of the "Subjects" listed, you can find more articles about the subject selected.

Abstract: Next to the term "Abstract" you can read a short summary of the article.

HTML Full Text: Clicking "HTML Full Text" on the left side of the screen will provide the complete text for the article (images are not always included).

  • Listening Options: Listen to the article by clicking the "Listen" button after the title of the article.
  • Accent Choices: Select what accent is used by using the drop down menu to the right of the "Listen" button.

PDF Full Text: Clicking "PDF Full Text" on the left side of the screen will provide a scanned copy of the article (images included).

Print or Email: Print or e-mail the article to yourself by clicking "Print" or "E-mail" on the right side of the screen.

Cite: Clicking "Cite" on the right hand side of the screen will provide the citation format (APA, Chicago/Turabian, MLA, etc.).

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 (“”).

Need additional help?
Ask a Reference Librarian!

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  • Ray Hartstein Campus Library, Room A200, 847.635.1474