Searching a Database
General Step-by-step Instructions
Enter GALILEO. Type the password in the "Home/Password" box. Select a search option.
After making the subcategory selections or linking directly to a specific database, start with a keyword search. Remember to think of synonyms you may want to include.
Use truncation and Boolean operators when constructing your search
- Use OR to include synonyms: (capital punishment or death penalty)
- Use AND to narrow your search: (capital punishment OR death penalty) AND racism
Use truncation to include multiple forms of a word (capital punishment OR death penalty) AND discriminat*
When you find a relevant article, look at the electronic record to see if the terms used in the database to describe your topic.
For example you may have used "African Americans" and the subject heading is "Blacks". By using the term used in the subject heading you will retrieve citations to articles that use either term.
Remember that in some databases you are only searching citations and abstracts, not the full text of the article.
Some databases let you search the subject headings directly. Look for a link to "Thesaurus", "Index" or "Subjects". These searches are more precise since the title and abstract are not being searched, just the subject headings describing what the article is about.
The results you retrieve for your search are citations (author, title, publication information) to particular articles. Click on the citation for the full record, which will include the full citation, subject headings, and usually the abstract.
WANT MORE on developing a keyword search?
> Unit 2 > Starting Your Search
WANT MORE on truncation or Boolean searches?
>Unit 4 > Primer on Databases and Catalogs