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Library Tips & Tricks for Graduate & Doctoral Students

Information about library services and resources to meet the unique needs of graduate and doctoral students.

Advanced Searching Tips & Tricks Header

Although most of the library's databases are easy to search, there are some advanced features that can make your searching easier and more productive:

Using a Database Thesaursus

Most databases feature a subject specific thesaurus of subject terms that relate to content on those databases. For example, ERIC features a thesaurus of ERIC descriptors and CINAHL a thesaurus of medical subject headings.

 The thesaurus allows you to browse for subject terms you can use to search the database. Subject terms are assigned based on article content, allowing you to create a targeted search.

Examples of Thesaurus in databases

To Browse a Thesaurus:

To browse a thesaurus of terms available in the database, click the Thesaurus link at the top of the screen. 

Enter your search terms in the Browse field, and then select from: Term Begins With or Term Contains radio buttons and click Browse. A list of headings is displayed and your search terms are retained in the Browse field.  Click the Search button. A Result List is displayed.

How to search a database thesaurus


Mark the headings that you want to use, combine your selections with AND, OR, or NOT if needed, and click Add. (You always have the option of searching the terms requested. If a subject heading is not found for your search terms, the terms are displayed at the bottom of the list. You can mark the check box so that your terms are searched as a keyword search.)

How to search terms found in the thesaurus


Setting up Alerts

If you want to be kept abreast of new research on a particular topic, you can set up an alert and be notified of new research,

Once you have conducted your search, click on Share, and then Email Alerts.

Setting up an email alert part 1


A box will pop up where you can customize the alert to your needs and specify what email address the alert should be sent to.

Customize your alert.

NOTE: If you are creating an alert in an EBSCO database you will need to sign into your MyEBSCOHost account in order to complete the alert.