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Using Search Fields in a Database

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Narration: When you're searching the library databases, you have the option to select a specific field where you would like to search for your keywords. I typed human resources and leadership in my search boxes. And if I leave this as Select a Field and run my search, I'm actually searching for the words everywhere. So it finds about 7,400 articles.

Narration: To add focus, you can search in specific parts of the article. So, for example, I can search in the subject terms, the titles, the abstracts. So we'll try it just searching the abstract. That would be looking for my keywords in the summary instead of anywhere in the articles. And that way, I reduce my results to 1,200. It's going to be a more focused results list, since I've eliminated passing mentions by searching in the abstracts.

Narration: To add even further focus, you can search in the subject terms or in the article titles. If I search in the article titles, that is going to bring my results list down to 53. And that's just because there are way fewer words that's searching in the article titles instead of in the article summaries, in the abstracts.

Narration: All of the databases in the library work this way. So we're looking here at an EBSCO database, Business Source Complete. If we search to a different interface, ProQuest, searching an ABI inform, and we're searching the same terms, human resources and leadership, and go ahead and search for those anywhere, that's going to give me 99,000 results, which is obviously too many to be looking through.

Narration: So I can go back and modify my search to add focus. And instead of searching anywhere, I can search here also in the abstracts, for example, to look for my terms in the summaries, instead of anywhere in the article. And now I'm down to 896 results. Still quite a few. But we can keep adjusting it to search in titles or in the subject headings to add focus to our search results. And when I search in the titles, I get just 31 results. Searching in the fields is just one technique you can use to fine tune your library database searches so that you can easily find what you're looking for when doing your coursework.