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Library Research at UNC: The Guide to Getting Started

If the Summon results are overwhelming, it might be helpful to search in subject-specific databases. From the Databases tab on the Libraries homepage, you can search Databases A-Z for a specific database, or use the link to browse databases by subject, type, or vendor

Database search tips

Database Searching: Basic

UNC databases do not look the same and they each have special features.  The common way to search each database is by keyword.  Below are a few tip to keyword searching in a general database, Academic Search Premier.

Keyword Searching Tips:

  • Use your main terms rather than asking questions or full sentences.
  • Use quotation marks around a phrase or set of terms ("death penalty" rather than death penalty).
  • If you have too many results, use limiters such as date of publication.
  • If you have too few results, try changing your keywords to synonyms, or removing any limiters.
  • Avoid checking the Full Text limiter.  An article may be in full text in another database, and you will be linked to the full text.

Database Searching: Advanced

Each database has different limiters, but the common ones are Date of Publication and Type of Publication.  Limiters allow you to focus your search and exclude unwanted information.  Limiters are very useful if you have an overwhelming number of results.