Having trouble finding relevant resources for your assessment tasks? This tool will help you generate a search, which you can copy and paste into MultiSearch or any of the library databases to retrieve better results.
Follow steps 1 to 5 below to create a search that contains: key terms and their synonyms; Boolean operators; and symbols to search with wildcards, truncation and phrases.
If this is your first time using the assistant, read through the following pages in the Information Skills guide to better understand the process:
|Copy Your Search|
A basic search will work well when searching for broad topics or if you are just looking for books and ebooks. However, consider using the Advanced Search option, especially when looking for information which focuses on a specific aspect of a topic, or while searching for journal articles.
This tutorial will help you get the best out of the library’s online databases. Learn to use advanced search tools to build a search strategy, and how to adjust and refine a search to retrieve more relevant results.
After opening MultiSearch or one of the library's databases, you'll usually be directed to a basic search box. However, selecting a link to the Advanced Search option will provide the following attributes with which to tailor and refine your search.
The search boxes provide options to construct a more focused search and adjust it more easily.
Use one box for each of the main topic areas you are looking for. In the example below, the search topics are grief and relationships and interventions. Use three boxes, one for each topic and include synonyms for each topic in that box. To include more topics, most databases allow for the addition of search boxes.
Between each search box, choose the appropriate Boolean operator to connect search terms.
In the search below, the AND operator is selected in the drop-down menus and OR operators are typed in the search boxes between synonyms. Refine the search string further by adding wildcards, truncation and phrases. For example, truncate bereavement and counselling and therapy by adding an asterisk to the word as displayed below.
Use the ‘Select a field’ drop down menus to tell the database where to look for search terms.
Adjust these fields if the search results are too limited. Also try mixing and matching across the search boxes as some fields will work better with different keywords. Below is a brief definition of some of the common fields:
After selecting the search button and retrieving a results list, a Refine Results menu will appear usually down the left or right hand side of the page. This menu has built in facets with which to easily refine the results and deliver a more relevant list. A few ways of limiting the search include:
Click HERE to open a new page containing live access to some of the EbscoHOST journal databases.
Log in to the database using your ACAP username and password. Then, click the continue button and you will be directed to an Advanced Search screen.
Click the numbered buttons at the top of this box to navigate your way through this practice task. Complete all tasks in order from 1 - 7.
2. The Assessment Task
You'll now be able to find journal articles directly from this database. Let's look at finding articles for the following assessment task:
Discuss the prevalence and impact of stigma and discrimination on people who have mental health conditions and disorders. Research and evaluate how stigma and discrimination is being addressed within Australia to protect the rights of mental health consumers.
The key concepts for this task include:
3. Entering Keywords into Search Boxes
Begin by creating an advanced search string using Boolean operators, wildcards, truncation and phrases. You must copy the keywords exactly as written below. Hint: right click on your mouse to copy and paste.
You should have retrieved over 60,000 results!
4. Refine Results: Select Fields
We've retrieved a lot of results so let's refine the search by telling the database where to search for keywords using the Select Field menus.
Hit Search again and you will now have reduced the number of results to just around 3000. You will notice the number of results and their relevancy to your search are greatly affected by the fields you choose.
5. Refine Results: The Menu
This is a much more digestible set of results but we can refine it further and make the results even more relevant by using the Refine Results menu at the left of the search screen (or scroll down on small devices).
Under the Limit To menu we could limit to just peer reviewed publications or we could expand to include non-full text. However, let's just limit by date to retrieve more current results. Scroll down to change the Publication Date field to bring back articles from 2010 onwards.
This action should have almost halved the results to about 2000 articles. We could continue to limit the search using the Source Types and facets further below. However, let's stop here and move to step 6.
6. Refine Results: Adjust the Search
Finally, you may need to to go back to your search boxes and add or remove keywords, change the Select Field options or fine-tune the Refine Results menu.
In this case, let's just focus on Australian consumers. So, change the keywords in the 3rd box to the one keyword: Australia*
Once you have removed consumer AND patient as keywords from the search you will bring back an even more relevant and digestible set of about 300 results.
You will begin to discover more terms, phrases or key authors as you search and as you begin to read through the material you have found. These can then be used to adjust your search to find even more relevant results.
7. Examining the Results
Use the REVIEW criteria from section 6. Evaluating Information to test whether the items you've found are appropriate for use in academic assignments.
Once you do have a good set of results, scroll through them and open any items that look relevant to this assessment task. Try downloading the PDF of an article to your desktop and using the Cite tool to collect information about how to add the article to your reference list.
If you need some help doing this, take a look at the videos on the library's How to Find eResources page.
Congratulations! You have now completed an Advanced Search using EbscoHOST databases.