Before computers, people used to have to go to big books called indexes that listed magazine and journal articles for different topics and subjects to find articles. (They still make these indexes–come to the library and I’ll show you the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature.)

But computers made searching easier–in some ways. There are some tricks and tips that can help you get better results, so you don’t have to sift through articles that you really don’t want to find those that you do.

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Getting Started

Each module is designed to walk you through part of the process of an entire search.  While you can simply use just the information found in Module 1 to perform a search, it won’t be a very precise one and you’re likely to be overwhelmed with choices.  Module 2 is designed to show you ways to combine two or more terms properly in order to get more precise information.

While a Google search will let you string words together randomly, databases are designed to use certain words to link terms together to get you what you want more efficiently.  Module 3 will help you narrow your results by date, full text, or peer-reviewed articles, while Module 4 will make your life simpler by showing you how to evaluate articles and how to email the full text and citation to yourself–useful in case you lose your original printout!  Module 5 won’t be necessary for many of you, since it focuses specifically on medical subject headings–but nursing students who are already used to EBSCO searches can feel free to skip right to Module 5 if you want!

Each module consists of certain sections: a summary and objectives, a screenshot/text walkthrough with optional audio, and a video walkthrough with captioning.  You have the option to use this in whatever way–and whatever order–you choose.  If you want to skip the video, you can.  If you want to open a new window and follow along with a search, go for it.  You know how you learn best.


Choose a Module