It's smart to start any database search by tapping on the "advanced search" link near the main search bar. This will allow you many more options to limit your search, thereby making the results that come up a lot more relevant to your needs. Keep in mind that the different databases will often have different options.
Here are some of the potential limiters of your search, and what they mean:
- Full-text documents, peer-reviewed journals, Document Contains Images
- These options allow you to tailor the results to include only documents with full text (i.e. can be read fully) or are peer-reviewed (a good choice for scholarly research!)
- Dates and date ranges
- If you have a very specific query in mind, you can limit the search by date. Look at the options on your specific database.
- Date ranges can be helpful if you want to see how a particular person or topic was discussed during a certain time period
- You can also choose to have only results after a certain time period fetched — if you want to keep your research super current
- Date ranges can also help when seeking out specific primary source queries
- Publication type
- Limit your search to what type of publication that an article appears in (like a periodical, a newspaper, a blog entry, book, review, etc.)
Keep in mind: The more limiters you put on a search, the fewer results you'll get. Try less limiters when you're beginning research on a project, and try more when you're ready to find very specific sources.