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Academic Search Complete: Search Tips

Use Advanced Search

The Advanced Search page is a great place to start because it has several features that help make searches more effective. From the main search screen, click "Advanced" below the search box.

Advanced Search Screen

On the advanced search screen of Academic Search Premier, you'll see three search boxes with a dropdown box next to two of them. You can use these to choose the Boolean search operators AND, OR, or NOT for combining search terms.


Think of each search word as having a set of results that is connected to it. These sets can be combined in different ways to create larger or smaller sets of results. You can also exclude certain sets from your results.

AND combines different terms when both must be present. Use AND to narrow a search.
Example: climate change AND water crisis

OR combines terms when at least one must be present. Use OR to broaden a search.
Example: climate change OR global warming

NOT eliminates irrelevant terms from a search. Use NOT when you want to exclude all records that contain a certain term.
Example: java NOT coffee

Search Fields
To the right of each search box is another pull-down box from which you can choose which field you want to search in. You can search by author, title, subject term, geographic area, journal name, or many other options.

For example, if you did a search for climate change in the title field, your results would include only articles in which those two words appeared in the title of the article.

Narrow Your Search

Once you've run your search, there are several options for narrowing your search in the left column of the results screen.


At the top of the column, you can limit the results to those available in full text or those from scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals, and you can also select the publication date range. Don't select the Full Text option immediately, because there may be some articles that are not in full text in this database that are available in other Foothill databases.




Below that you can select what type of source your results come from: academic journals, magazines, or newspapers.





You can also look under Subject: Thesaurus Term to narrow your search. Subject headings are terms that have been assigned to articles based on their subject matter. See Keyword vs. Subject Searching for more information on subject headings.






Other Ways to Search

Phrase Searches

Use a phrase search to search for certain words as a group. You can do a phrase search by enclosing a phrase in quotation marks to ensure that the database searches for the entire phrase, in the specific order you provided.

Examples of phrase searches: "economic stimulus package," "climate change," "healthcare reform."

Truncation Marks

A truncation mark is a symbol that is added to the end or beginning of the root of a word to instruct the database to search for all forms of that word. The asterisk (*) is used in many databases for truncation.

Example: adolescen* retrieves adolescent, adolescents, or adolescence.

Example: develop* retrieves develops, developing, or development.