Last Updated: Nov 20, 2023 Views: 661

Database search results may seem daunting at first. You may have thousands of results or more, or the results are not a good fit for your topic. Learn to locate and use the tools available on the search results page, which you'll see when using the Multi-Search, EBSCO, ProQuest, and most other research databases from the Shapiro Library. The skills you learn to use in one will apply to all.

Look for the links and icons on the search results page that let you select relevant items and give you more focused results.

The Multi-Search displays these tools along the left side of the search results page, while other databases display them along the right side or along the top of the page. Know what to look for on the page surrounding the list of results.

  1. For example, these are some Multi-Search results on the benefits of eating chocolate, with the Refine Results tools along the left:

    Links to limit or filter results along the left side of the search results page

  2. Along the left, check the Peer Reviewed (Scholarly) box to limit the search results to only sources from peer-reviewed journals. Adjust the Publication Date range to view sources published more recently.

    Checkbox for peer reviewed articles and publication date range adjustment tool

  3. Further down the left side, click Limit by Subject Term, then click Show More under the six boxes that appear there.

    Limit by subject term expanded menu of sub-topic checkboxes

  4. A menu pops up listing sub-topics found in your search results. Check all the boxes for all the terms relevant to your topic, then click Update.

    Expanded list of sub-topics and checkboxes with update button


To locate more articles on the same topic, modify your search using synonyms and related terms, or try using new terms you've learned of from the Limit by Subject Terms pop-up menu. Then repeat steps 2-4 using the limits and filters shown.

Content authored by: CD

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