Searching ProQuest: A Tutorial

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ProQuest Search Strategies
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Developed by Tatiana Shabelnik

ProQuest Search Strategies by Jan Coe

Viewing your results

1. Select appropriate databases to search in for your topic. If not sure, select ALL.

2. Use the tabs at the top to view just Scholarly Journals, Magazines, Newspapers, etc.

3. Always skim the abstract. If the highlighted words show a different context than you had in mind, skip on to the next likely article.

4. Use the More Like This function judiciously.

5. Copy & Paste any interesting looking references to organizations, people, web sites, etc. when you come across them in an article. Search these items in Google or another search engine.

6. If viewing a scholarly research study article, read abstract, then skip down to Discussion section (unless you have the background and/or interest in reading about the methodology and formal aspects used in the study).


Strategies for narrowing your search

1. Instead of using natural language, take the time to look up the ProQuest SUBJECT terms for your topic.

2. Add more SUBJECT terms, connecting them with AND.

3. Use the fields drop-down menu to specify where you expect your terms to be found – e.g. Mexico in LOCATION, or stem cells in TITLE.

4. Restrict results to a certain range of dates, or to certain document types (like editorials or features).

5. Use natural language phrases in quotes, e.g. “partial-birth”

6. Sometimes using the PQ-generated “Suggested Topics” can he helpful.


Strategies for broadening your search

1. Use fewer SUBJECT terms.

2. Use more synonyms, connecting them with OR.

3. Use truncation – e.g. instead of nursing, put nurs* in the search box. PQ will return results with nursing, nurses, nurse.