Do you need help searching for articles? In this tutorial, you’ll learn some tips for searching in EBSCO’s Academic Search Complete database. Start at the Libraries home page: www.lib.washington.edu. Next, click the link “Articles and Research Databases” under “Find It.” Look at the box on the right hand side that says, “Starting points for most subjects.” When you are beginning your research, start in databases like Academic Search Complete or Web of Science. These databases contain articles on many different subjects.
Remember, if you are off campus, you must click on the off-campus access link in the top right corner before entering the database. After you login with your UW NetID, the off-campus access box will turn green. Let’s click on Academic Search Complete. On the main search page of Academic Search Complete, you’ll see that there is a basic search box here, and a variety of limiting search options below. For example, you can limit your results to scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. Let’s say that we are researching the effect of ADHD drugs on children. In Academic Search Complete, we can try to use that exact search phrase, the effect of ADHD drugs on children. However, when we use that search, we find no results. That does not mean there aren’t any articles on our topic. It simply means that the database did not find any articles containing that exact phrase. Let’s try and break up our topic into concepts. We want to focus on the concepts of “ADHD drugs” AND “children.” Let’s go back to Academic Search Complete. I can type in “ADHD drug*” AND “child*.” You’ll notice that I include an asterisk after the word “drug” and “child” so that we will get all forms of those words. This is called truncation.
When I enter my new search, I get about 90 results. On the left side of the page, I have some options for refining my results. I can limit my results to those that are just published in scholarly
journals and those that were just published in the last decade. You may also limit your results by the subjects or subject thesaurus terms listed on the left side of the page. After adding these limits, now I only have 6 results and I can skim through these to find relevant articles. Six is a very small number, so I can always go back and remove some of my limits. For each result, I can look through the title of the article, the journal in which the article was published, as well as an abstract, or a
short summary of the article. On the right side of the page, there is a handy “tools” section that allows you to print, email,
save, or even cite the article in formats like MLA or APA. If you see a link that says “PDF full text” or “HTML full text,” click on it and you will be able
to read the full text of the article online. If you don’t see a “full text” link, click on the purple “Check for full text” button. If the article is available in another one of the UW Libraries subscription databases, you will be taken directly to the article online. If not, you may be able to find the article in print or request it through interlibrary loan. For help with the latter options, please contact a librarian. Remember, we can always go back to Academic Search Complete and try out a variety of other keywords. As you learn more about your topic, make note of any other words or specialized vocabulary that you can use for searching. You have now completed the tutorial on Academic Search Complete.
If you have any questions, please ask us.