Often, when you search, you will want to refine or limit your results. That is to say, you will want to eliminate certain kinds of search results from your list that are not useful to your research.
It is usually helpful to begin by using a broad search phrase that encompasses your topic to see what kinds of results that initial search yields. Once you have seen all possible results, you can begin to refine them using a few different features found in most library databases, either within the Search Results list itself, or on the Advanced Search screen. The examples below show the process using the Search Results screen from OneSearch (EBSCOhost).
Screenshot 1: Search phrase "complex ptsd" yields 5,136 results (highlighted in yellow), which is an unmanageable number. In the following steps, limiters will be applied to reduce that number to something manageable and relevant.
Limiting by date means telling the database you want only items that were published within a certain range of years. This can be useful if your assignment requires the most current research available, or if your topic is historical in nature and you wish to find what was written about it at the time it was occurring.
Screenshot 2: On the left, under Refine Results, you will see the Limit To features. Notice the Publication Date range (highlighted by a red square). You can enter any beginning and ending year, and the database will remove all the search results that were not published in that range. Adding the beginning year 2010 and ending year 2014 reduces the results from 5,136 to 2,498 (highlighted in yellow).
Limiting to Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals means telling the database you want only items that have been through a peer review or editorial review process. These are often the best sources for scholarly research, and many times your instructors will require that you use these exclusively.
Screenshot 3: On the left, under Refine Results, you will see the Limit To features. Notice the Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals limiter (highlighted by a red square). By placing a check in that check box, you are telling the database to remove all search results that were not published in scholarly or peer-reviewed journals (e.g., magazine and newspaper articles). This further reduces the results from 2,498 to 1,596 (highlighted in yellow).
Many of our databases, especially OneSearch, which searches all the library's text resources, contain content of many different document types:
Limiting by Document Type tells the database exactly what type of source you wish to see in your results list, whether that means scholarly article, case studies, ebooks, or something else.
Note: Not all items published in peer-reviewed journals have been peer reviewed (e.g. editorials, book reviews), though the research articles in them will have been. Using the limit by Document Type feature, after using the limit to Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals features will remove those unwanted results.
Screenshot 4: On the left, under Refine Results, you will see the Source Types limiter (highlighted by a red square). Placing a check in the check box next to the source type you desire tells the database to eliminate all other results.
Screenshot 5: If you click Show More, in the screenshot above, you would see the following full list of source types. Note: Different databases have different specializations by subject, which means that each database will contain different source types. The screenshot below shows the source types listed in OneSearch (EBSCOhost).
Screenshot 6: Placing a check in the check box next to eBooks further reduces the results from 1,596 to 796 (highlighted in yellow), all of them ebooks. Since this is still a rather large number of results, this is the point at which you should begin adding additional concepts to your search phrase to narrow your topic and list of results to something specific, relevant and manageable.
Note: You may have noticed the Full Text limiter in the screenshots above. Placing a check in that check box tells the database to remove any search results that do not have full text available in this database. Be aware that the full text may be available in a different database via a link from this database and, if you limit to Full Text in this database, you will not see those options. Use this feature cautiously.
Please note: If you need to request accommodations with content linked to on this guide, on the basis of a disability, please contact Disability Services by emailing them at Disability.Services@esc.edu. Requests for accommodations should be submitted as early as possible to allow for sufficient planning. If you have questions, please visit the disability services website http://www.esc.edu/disabilityservices.