Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Library Orientation: Using Databases

Use this guide to learn more about Lightner Library and the services and resources that we offer.

Using Databases

Identifying Search Terms

Before you begin your search in the library databases, you need to identify some good search terms to try for your topic. Take a look at the steps below to get an idea of the process:

  1. Write your topic out as a sentence or question
  2. Underline the key words or concepts
  3. Think of other words to describe your topic, such as synonyms or related words. You may need to do some background research on the web or in an encyclopedia to help you brainstorm related words or terms.
  4. Start Simple! Add more words as you go.
  5. Do more than one search. Try different words.
  6. Figure out which terms get you the best results

Using Database Filters

All of our databases have the same basic functionalities but may differ slightly in appearance. Look for the following filters in the databases to narrow your search to only the most relevant results for you. Keep in mind that sometimes the filters show up after you click the search button.

  • Full Text - only provides results which allow you to read the full article right away. Only check this box when you are in a rush.
  • Peer-Reviewed - only provides articles which are from peer-reviewed, scholarly journals
  • Date of Publication - allows you to limit your results to those which fall within a certain year range
  • Language - allows you to limit your results to only those in English (or another language)
  • Geography - allows you to limit your results to only those concerning populations in the United States (or another country)

What to do when you find a great article with no full text?

The first step is to try the Full-Text Search link (available in EBSCOhost and Proquest databases). Screenshot below.

If you are using a database which does not have these links, go to our Find a Journal Title search and search for the title of the journal which contains the article (sometimes the journal title is listed as the "Source" in our databases).

If the Full-Text search or Find a Journal Title search came up with no results, the next step is to request the article on Interlibrary Loan. In our EBSCOhost and Proquest databases, we have a shortcut to request the article quickly (see screenshot above). 

Interlibrary Loan for articles takes about 2-3 business days and will be delivered to you via email. For more information on interlibrary loan, please visit our Interlibrary Loan Guide.

EBSCOhost Tutorial Video

The tutorial below was made specifically for you by the AOE Librarian. In the video, she takes you through a tutorial on searching EBSCOhost databases. Most of our databases work similarly to EBSCOhost, so watching the tutorials below will be useful if you are having trouble navigating databases.

Library Director

Profile Photo
Linda Park
(315) 279-5208