Advanced Search Techniques in Databases Here’s an example: you are researching
the use of prescription drugs by the elderly, in the Academic Search Complete
database. A simple keyword search with prescription drugs, and elderly retrieves
hundreds of results but in most databases you can focus your search in
order to get more precise results. Advanced search technique number one:
Subject Searching. Some databases use standardized terms and phrases such as
subject terms, descriptors, or subject headings, to describe different topics.
These terms are used to tag each article in a database, in order to describe what
the article is about. Using these subject terms can be helpful when searching for
a concept that can be expressed in more than one way. After performing a search, a list of
relevant subject terms will appear beside the results list. Selecting terms
from this list will limit results to only documents tagged with the term.
Looking at the articles record you will notice other subject terms that can be
reused in your search. Advanced search technique number two:
Field Searching. Every document in a
database is divided into different sections called fields. Author, title
subject, etc. Searching for words located in specific fields will help you
retrieve a much more focused list of results. For more tutorials visit: library.concordia.ca/learn.