The most common type of search is a subject search; you are looking for information on a subject. However, you can also do keyword and text word searches. Each type of search will give you a different number and list of results.
Subject Search: Each article has a number of terms that identify the main subject of that article. When you do a subject search, the database will only find articles that have that term defined as a specific subject term. When you use these subject terms, your results will be relevant and specific, however, they will less in number.
Keyword Search: The database will only find articles that have that term within the author field, title field, or abstract (paragraph summary) field of the article. You will likely have more results, but some may be less relevant.
Text Word Search:The database will search the entire text of the article (author, title, subject, abstract, and text) for the term. You will have the largest set of results, but there will be a larger portion that is not relevant.
AND, OR, and NOT are used to combine words together. Each word tells the computer how to search each term in relation to the other term(s), and will give you different results.
And combines search terms so that search results contain all of the terms. For example, Video Games AND Childrenfinds articles that contain both Video Games and Children.
Orcombines search terms so that search results contain at least one of the terms. For example, Indigenous OR Aboriginal finds results that contain either Indigenous or Aboriginal.
Not excludes terms so that search results do not contain any of the terms that follow it. For example, Canada NOT United States finds results that contain Canada but not United States.
You are able to search for variations of a word to help expand your search. Truncation, represented by an asterisk (*), allows you to replace one or more letters of a word to find other forms of that root word.
For example, type Canad* to find the words Canada, Canadian, or Canadians.
Another example is, type Edu* to find the words Education or Educational.
Peer reviewed applies to articles that are published in journals, magazines, and newspapers. Peer review means that before that article is published, it had been vetted (or reviewed) by experts (or peers) in that field. It is comparable to a stamp of approval. The information is valid and correct. If it is not explicitly stated in the assignment, assume that you will have to use peer reviewed sources for your research papers.
Example of a peer reviewed journal is Canadian Journal of Education.
Example of a non-peer reviewed journal is Instructor.
It is also safe to assume that you cannot cite Wikipedia as a source.
Many of the library databases, including ERIC (Education Resource Information Centre), offer Full Text. Full text means that the entire text and graphics of the article is available directly from within the database. When this is available for particular articles, there will be a link visible that reads either Full Text, HTML, or PDF (as you can see in the example directly below).
You can also limit your database search to find only those articles for which full text is available. You will find this limit option on the search page.
Full text can be very beneficial search limit option, especially when you are doing research away from the library and need information right away.