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The University of Iowa Libraries

The University of Iowa Libraries


Research Ready: Library Database Tips

Visualizing a Library Database

For best viewing, click 'Start Prezi' and then expand the presentation by clicking the 'Fullscreen' rectangle icon on the lower-right side.

Search Tips

1. Keywords, Broader terms, Narrower terms

Use a variety of keywords to describe your topic. If you begin your research by using reference materials such as encyclopedias, you will often run across vocabulary to describe your topic that you may not have thought of on your own. Use this worksheet to help you brainstorm: 

  • global warming OR climate change
  • alternative fuel OR ethanol OR hydrogen OR carbon dioxide OR emissions
You should remove all "stop words" from your search. Stop words include articles, prepositions, or essentially any word that is not a crucial, meaningful word. Examples: a, an, the, in, on, of, are, be, into, which, about, that, etc.
2. Use quotation marks for phrase searching
  • "war on drugs"
  • "interpersonal relationship*"
  • "climate change"
3. Use truncation to get the database to search for a root word plus any possible endings
  • flood*  flood, floods, flooded, flooding
  • econom* → economy, economic, economical
  • psycholog* psychology, psychological, psychologist
4. Use AND, OR, and NOT to combine your search terms
  • (television OR TV) AND (women OR female*)
  • "war on drugs" AND Mexico AND United States
  • dolphins NOT football

Academic Search Premier

Academic Search Elite is a broad, interdisciplinary database that covers a wide range of subjects. It includes a mix of scholarly articles, popular publications, and a little bit of newspaper coverage. It’s an excellent starting point for the kind of research you will need to do in college courses. Academic Search Elite is one of many databases that our library subscribes to from EBSCOhost. If you learn this database well, you'll be able to search many other databases with ease.

Academic Search Premier search box



To search, enter keywords in the search boxes at the top of the page.

Academic Search Premier search box filled in

TIP: Use AND/OR to link search terms. (Boolean logic
Use * at the end of root words to search for all various endings of that root word, often expanding the number of results you will get. (Truncation)

There are options to limit results to scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals, articles published within a certain date range, etc.

Academic Search Premier limits




For many articles, you will see a link to full-text (the whole article), either in HTML or PDF format.

html full text  pdf full text

For other articles, the full-text will not be available in this database. Never fear! Use the FindIt@CSU button to track down practically any article you need!    InfoLink button

The InfoLink tool searches behind the scenes in many of our library databases to see if we have access to the article. If we do have access, you will see a message that says “Full text available via” and then a link to another database. Click that link and voilà! The article! Easy!

infolink menu

If we don’t have online access to the article, you’ll see a link to our Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery services. Login to request the article from another library. It will arrive electronically within 24‐48 hours, for free!


Here's an example of a scholarly article citation and a sample of the full-text of the scholarly article. Notice the length of the article. If you use information from an article for your research project, be sure to write down the citation information (author, title, journal name, volume, issue, page number) so you can accurately cite your sources. Click on the title of any article for the complete record, including subject terms and an abstract (summary).

academic citation

Here's an example of a citation that comes from a magazine and a sample of the full-text of the magazine article.  

magazine article citation

magazine article full-text


Printing, Emailing & Citing

Once you find a useful article, Academic Search Elite lets you to work with it in a bunch of ways (see bar on the right hand side of item page):

  • Print
  • E-mail (when you email an article to yourself, you can choose to format the citation in MLA style)
  • Save (to a USB drive or other device)
  • Cite (yellow paper icon) – a quick rough draft of the citation in various citation styles; be sure to double-check all citations and correct errors before you turn in your paper 
    REMEMBER copy → paste → proofread 

Ebsco Tools