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Peer Research Consultants

Training and information for PRCs

Tips and Tricks

Best Bets

Many of the subject research guides including best bets for databases.  For example: Accountancy Best Bets:

You can also find Best Bets under Databases A-Z.  For example, Best Bets for Government Resources:

  • Find the permalink for a specific article and share it with a student?
    • When looking at an article there is a button that says "permalink" click on it and it provides the permalink for that article, you can copy and paste it to a word document and email it to the student. 
  • Find the permalink for my search results and share it with a student?
    • When looking at the results lists there is a button called "Share" click on it and there is a URL for the permalink and you can copy and paste it to a word document and email it to the student. 
  • Don't use periods (such as U.S.) - spell out the word instead
  • Take out words such as: in, an, a, the, from...
  • If you notice a word showing up as a subject term, change the search box option to "subject"
  • Using filters in the databases to narrow by publication date, language, topic, etc
    • Remember for publication date, unless specified patrons should be looking for articles within an 8-10 year span
  • DON'T EVER CHECK THE FULL TEXT BOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 25-60 is a good results amount. 
    • It all depends on context for the number of results. 
  • Better to look at subject words than keywords unless brainstorming
  • When looking up a historical figure like Jean Piaget, use the last name only, not the first name
  • Use Ctrl F to find how many times your key words appear to find out if the article pertains mainly to your topic

Ebsco Databases

Ebsco contains:

  • Very comprehensive and broad collections (Academic Search or Business Source Complete)
  • Very specialized collections (RILM Abstracts of Music Literature)
  • E-books 
  • Resources Geared towards public and school libraries

There are some tips to:

  • Make the best use of Ebsco by becoming familiar with the databases on the Ebsco Platform
  • "Clumping" related databases together to search at once


  • You don't have to choose ALL of these suggest Ebsco databases in the same search
  • Use your judgment - depending on the purpose and topic of the research
  • Mouse over the Quote Boxes for description of the database
  • Also, you can always include Academic Search Complete and/or Business Source Complete at this point
  • MAKE DATABASE SELECTIONS FIRST before entering your search terms
  • After you run the search, you can see on the results page the databases and number of results in each