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Distance Learning

General Database Search Tips

Searching in the databases can be tricky, especially since they are all slightly different. Here are some basic tips to get you started:

  • Use keywords instead of phrases. Try searching for "nurse AND education" instead of "how much school do I need to be a nurse?
  • Not every article you find in the databases will be complete. Some will only be a citation or a summary. Limit your results to "Full Text" to only see articles you can read every word of online. 
  • Some databases let you limit your results by date. When you need the most up-to-date information this limiter can be a real life saver!
  • Look for an option to create a citation for the article right in the database. This can be a quick and easy way to create your Works Cited or References page. 
  • Remember that the databases aren't right for everything! If you're looking for general information there are other sources that may work better such as encyclopedias, handbooks, or trusted websites. 

Tips for Using EBSCO Databases

Maximize your search results by searching multiple databases at once.

  •  You can search more than one of our databases from EBSCO at the same time. Open one of the databases and click on the 'Choose Databases' link above the search box:

  • Then check off the boxes for the databases you'd like to search:


Limit your search results to full text articles

  • These databases contain citations and full-text results. A citation will only be a little bit of information about an article or book, but it won't give you the full resource itself. By checking the Full Text check box under the Limit your Results section, you'll be getting the full thing every time.
  • Remember, though, anything that you can't get in full text through the databases, we can get through Interlibrary Loan for free! Contact a librarian if you'd like something through interlibrary loan. Articles take about 2-14 days, and books take about 1-4 weeks, so start your research early.

Try an Advanced Search to combine different search terms and keywords

  • There won't be any perfect combination of search terms that will get you every resource we have on a topic. Therefore, you should use the Advanced Search screen to search for different combinations of search terms and keywords. You may have to perform several different searches. In this example, I've combined texas and folklore to find articles that contain both of those terms:

  • You can come up with alternate keywords and synonyms by looking at the Subject: Thesaurus Term menu that you'll find on the left on your search results page. In this example, I've learned that oral tradition or culture could be alternate terms for folklore.

Use EBSCO's Folder Feature

Sometimes when you're searching the databases you don't have time to open up every article, determine if it's relevant to your research, and then save, email, or print it out. In those times, the Folder feature can come in handy. Here's how it works:


At the top right of the page, you will see a Folder link. When you've saved documents to your folder, the picture will change to a page inside an open folder. Click on the folder to see everything you've saved:


Your folder contents look like this:

You must do something with the articles in the folder before you close out of the browser or switch databases! Your folder will NOT be saved until your next session. You should either email, print, or save the articles, or create a free account with MyEBSCOHost.

If you would like to create a free account with MyEBSCOHost in order to save your folder contents for your next session, use the Sign In link next to the folder and follow the directions to create a free account. | North Library: 281-459-7116 | Central Library: 281-476-1850 | South Library: 281-998-6150 ext. 3306