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Education Research

Search Tips & Tutorials

Database Search Tips...

Best practices for searching are relatively consistent across interfaces. No matter which database you choose, remember these important tips...

1) Don't search wth your topic as a single phrase! Determine the key concepts of your topic. Then place each concept in its own search bar.  For example...

Image of sample database search: line 1, college students; line 2, retention; line 3, first generation

2) Use ORs to string together synonyms or related terms for those concepts...

Image of sample database search: line 1, college students OR undergraduates; line 2, retention OR completion OR persistence; line 3, first generation OR first in family

3) Use truncation, when appropriate. Adding an * to the end of a word will catch all forms of that word. For example, teach* will return teach, teachers, teaching, etc.

Image of sample database search: line 1, college students OR undergraduates; line 2, retention OR complet* OR persist*; line 3, first generation OR first in family

4) Use proximity searches to force a relationship between two terms. This isn't always needed, but it's sometimes super helpful. Completion is a common word that may come up in many context. The search below means that the word complete or completion must appear within two words of college in the article title and abstracts.

Image of sample database search: line 1, college students OR undergraduates; line 2, retention OR (college n2 complet*) OR persistence; line 3, first generation OR first in family

5) Look for the "peer reviewed" limit in each database, and set date limits as appropriate for your topic. Don't choose the "Full Text" limit as this will exclude articles that we have online via other sources. Just follow the orange "Find it @ UT" button to be taken to the journal sites.

Image of database "limit to" box: Full text, (checked) Scholarly (peer reviewed) Journals, Cover Story, and Publication Date slider

Where's the Article?

If you don’t see a .pdf of the article you want within the database, click Find it to check for access via the journal site or another database. If it's not available online from another source, fill out an ILL Request to have us a borrow a copy for you. It's fast and free!

Search Tutorials

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ERIC Searching

Choosing Databases

Creating a Search Strategy

Phrase Searching & Truncation

myEBSCO Walkthroughs

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Saving Articles

Saving Searches

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