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Database Search Skills: Basic Search Limiters

Introduction to basic database search limiters

One of the reasons the Library databases are so useful is because they allow you to limit your results to just the type of content you need. For example, if you need peer-reviewed articles, you can limit your search results so that you only see peer-reviewed articles. Generally, you can find the limiters below the search boxes in a database. While we'll discuss a few of these limiters on this page, make sure to explore the limiters available in each database that you search.

Tips

Don't go crazy with limiters. Only use the ones that are most important to your search. Otherwise, you might limit yourself out of any results.

Some limiters may be available only on a database's advanced search page. Look for a link to advanced search options if you don't see the limiters you need.

Full text

Most Library databases allow you to limit your search results to items available in full text only; meaning the complete article is available.

Note: In addition to PDF Full Text and HTML Full Text links, you might also see Find@Walden buttons. Clicking on the Find@Walden button will generally take you to the full text of the article in a different database.

 

To learn more about accessing the full text of an article, please refer to these resources:

Examples of full text limiters

Here are some ways the full text limiters may vary in a few of the more popular Library databases.

  • EBSCO: By default, full text is selected in most EBSCO databases. The Full Text checkbox is below the search boxes further down the page in the Limit your results section.

 

  • ProQuest: These databases also default to full text. Look for a Full text checkbox below the search boxes.


 

  • SAGE Journals: On the Advanced Search page, select Only content I have full access to under Access Type. Scroll down the page a bit to find it.

Peer review

Most library databases include a combination of peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed content. Look for a checkbox below the search boxes that will limit your search to scholarly or peer-reviewed journals.

Note: Some databases only contain peer-reviewed content, so they do not have a peer-reviewed limiter.

 

To learn how to tell if a database only has peer-reviewed content, please refer to our guide:

Examples of peer review limiters

Here are some ways peer review date limiters may vary in two of the most common Library databases.

  • EBSCO: The Peer Reviewed Scholarly Journals checkbox is below the search boxes further down the page in the Limit your results section.

 

  • ProQuest: Look for a Peer reviewed checkbox below the search boxes.

Publication date

Most library databases will allow you to limit your results by publication date. Look for a date area where you can specify when materials were published.

Tip: If the dates you need include the current day, leave the second year box empty. This tells the database to search for all articles published from the date in the first year box through the most current publications available.

Examples of publication date limiters

Here are some ways publication date limiters may vary in a few of the more popular Library databases.

  • EBSCO: The Publication Date limiter is below the search boxes further down the page in the Limit your results section. Enter a beginning month and year, and an ending month and year, for the time range you need. You can leave the month box empty and enter year information only.

 

  • ProQuest: The Publication date limiter is right below the search boxes. It is a drop-down menu where you can select a pre-set date range or choose your own. The default for the box is All dates. Some of the selections available are Last 30 days, Last 12 months, Last 3 years, or Specific date range.

Limiters after you search

If you forget to set limiters before running your search, many databases allow you to limit your results afterward.

  • In the EBSCO databases, you can find the Full Text, Peer Reviewed Scholarly Journals, and Publication Date limiters under Limit To in the column to the left of the results.

 

  • In the ProQuest databases, you can find the Full text, Peer reviewed, and Publication date limiters under Narrow results in the column to the left of the results.