Until now, we have been searching by topic or keywords. When a database searches for keywords, it searches the entire full text of its contents.
The solution to this problem is to use the Advanced Search features available in all databases to search specific fields, instead of searching the entire text.
This process is covered in the video below. If you prefer, you may skip to the text discussion beneath it.
Screenshot 1: To access the Advanced Search features, select a database to search. Typically, you will find a link to Advanced Search located just below the generic search box (highlighted in red below).
Screenshot 2: The Advanced Search screen displays numerous features for refining your search below the search box. At the top of the screen, you will see multiple search boxes, and next to each search box, you will see pull-down menus that say "Select a Field" (highlighted in red below). You can also add more search boxes and corresponding Select a Field menus, should you need them, by clicking the Plus (+) button.
Screenshot 3: The Select a Field menus open to reveal options (highlighted in red below). Each option includes an abbreviation and a name to tell which field it searches. Note: Some databases will use different names for the fields displayed below, though most will be similar.
Descriptions of what each field searches follow:
Imagine you have been assigned to read the article "The Two Faces of Power," by authors Bachrach and Baratz.
Screenshot 4: First, you might try to search the article title "The Two Faces of Power" without selecting a field. In this case, the database returns the correct article as the fourth item in a 1,586 item list of results (highlighted in red below).
Screenshot 5: If we search for the title "The Two Faces of Power" using the Title field, we get 4 results instead of 1, 586 (highlighted below in red). The reason we get 4 results instead of 1 is because other authors responded to the first article and they put the title of the original article into their own title. This is not an uncommon practice.
Screenshot 6: To limit the search results to the exact article you want, written by those exact authors, use both the Title field AND the Author field.
The combination of article title "The Two Faces of Power" in the Title field AND the article authors Bachrach AND Baratz in the Author field is unique. It brings up only one article, in two different languages (highlighted in red below).
Note: Between the search boxes there are Boolean operator menus. These menus default to the AND operator, but you could use the menus to choose the OR or NOT operators. You could also use any of the six Boolean operators, including parentheses, quotation marks and truncation*, in the search boxes, as you would in a basic search.
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