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Research Skills Tutorial

This is a self-paced, non-credit course that covers research skills, critical thinking, media and internet literacy, and understanding the complexities of the modern information environment (including libraries.)

Understanding Search Results

Library databases are complex and specialized tools that offer numerous features to help you in the research process. Features found on both the Search Results page and the Article Information page (or record) are highlighted in the screenshots below.

Search Results Page

Regardless of the database you are using, your search results page is going to have the same basic features (as highlighted in red in the screenshot below):

  1. Above the list of results, the number of search results your search returned.
  2. Usually on the left side, some options for refining your search results by eliminating certain kinds.
  3. Usually above and below the results list, a way to click through the pages of your search results.
  4. The search results themselves. The title will be a link to more information about that search result. 
    1. Either an icon to get to the full text, or a link to check for full text in another database.
    2. A check box or folder icon to add that search result to a temporary list. If you already have the item in your folder or list, clicking this will remove it. Note: To save items to this list permanently, you must sign in to your account with the database vendor (e.g., EBSCO, Proquest) using the links provided at the top of the page.

Search Results Page in OneSearch:

A screenshot of the OneSearch search results list. Up at the top is the search box, which is showing the search whose results are being displayed. Below that in the main/center column is the search results list itself. At the top, it says Search Results: 1-50 of 789. All the way at the bottom, it says Page: 1 2 3 4 5 Next, where those are links to go to the other pages. The search results themselves are numbered. The Title is at the top, and it is a link to more information about the search result. In addition to the title, there is an icon displaying the document type (book, journal article, etc.), plus the other citation information. To the right, there is a small blue icon shaped like a folder, which is used to add that search result to a temporary list. To the left of the search results list in its own column, there is the Refine Results set of options. It has Current Search, which shows what you entered to get these search results. Below that is Limit To with options for Full-text, Catalog (e-books) Only, Scholarly (Peer Reviewed Journals), and range of Publication Dates. Below that is Source Types, with check boxes for different kinds of information sources.

Article Information Page (Record)

Clicking on the title of any information source in your search results page will take you to its Article Information Page or Record. On this page, you will find:

  1. Full title, author(s), publication date, and publication information (publisher of a book or journal title, volume, issue, and pages for an article.)
  2. Abstract (summary or description of the content)
  3. Descriptors or Subject Terms
  4. Often, a suggested citation format for the information source. (Be sure to check it for errors.)
  5. In most databases, a permalink to the information source. Note: Be sure to use this, and not the URL from the address bar of your browser.
  6. A link to the full text of the information source, or a link to check for the full text in another database.
  7. Options to save the information source, and also email it, print it, and export it to a reference management tool.
  8. Another icon or check box to add the item to your temporary folder/list, or to remove it if you have already added it.
  9. Sometimes the HTML full-text of the article (This may be missing page numbers, formatting, and images, but like any webpage, it is searchable using the Ctrl-F hot key combination).

Article Information Page in OneSearch:

Screenshot of the article information page. There is a large center column. At the top of it is the title of the article. Below that is Authors. Below that is Source, which has publication information (such as journal title, volume, issue, date, page numbers.) Below that is Document Type. Then Subject Terms. Then Author-Supplied Keywords. Then the Abstract. Then copyright information. Then the ISSN or ISBN. Then the Accession Number, which is not something you need to worry about. Then the database the information source is found in. Then the Publisher logo. The narrow left column shows that this is the "Detailed Record" page. Below that is an icon and link to PDF Full-text and specifies the size of the file. On the right there is another narrow column labeled tools. From top to bottom, the tools are Add To Folder, Print, E-mail, Save, Cite, Export, Create Note, Permalink, and Share.

Article Information Page in a ProQuest Database:

Screenshot of the Proquest Article Information Page. It's labeled Citation/Abstract and has a link for Back to results. Under that is a blue menu bar with (left to right) Add to selected items check-box and then icon links to Save To My Resarch, Email, Print, Cite, Export/Save, Save to Flow, and Share. Below that is the full title, author, journal, volume, issue, date, and page numbers. We have a large left column below that. At the top of it is the Abstract, and there is a Translate link with it. Then there are Indexing Details. Near the bottom of the Indexing Details is the Document URL, which is the permalink. There is a narrower right column. At the top of it is Other Formats. Then Link to Full Text (which is full-text in this particular database) and Check for Full-text availability in all library collections (which searches other databases for it.) Below that is the Cited By information (tells you what information sources cited this information source.) Below that is See Similar Documents. Below that is a set of checkboxes for the "indexing terms" which the subject terms or descriptors. You can put a check in any or all of the indexing terms and click Search to get more articles that are theoretically similar to this one.

Accessibility Note

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.