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How to Use Academic Search Complete: Searching ASC

Searching Academic Search Complete

Academic Search Complete covers many subjects with thousands of journals and magazines and other sources such as books, reports, government documents and more.


Search Box: Start your research by entering keywords to search journals, books and more. 
Publications Browse: Find articles by browsing publications available in Academic Search™ products.
Subjects Browse: Browse articles using EBSCO’s controlled vocabulary of terms that assists in the effective searching of academic content.Browse Cited References: Cited References connect users to additional information about EBSCOhost articles of interest. 
Search Modes: Search using Booleans or exact phrases, automatically place AND or OR between your search terms, or search using large amounts of text with SmartText Searching. 

Refine Your Results with Limits

Use the Refine your Results Column

Refine your results offers some quick limits to save you time in your research. You can apply as many limits as you want to any search. Occasionally this will result in no articles. In that case try deselecting some of the limits until you retrieve results. It may be that for some reason there are no full text on your topic. Or, you may want to re-think the terms you entered in the search box. Try using different terms to describe your topic. See Search Techniques that can be used in EBSCOhost databases, other databases and even with Internet search engines to see how to take advantage of Boolean logic and other search techniques.

Full Text: Get Unavailable Articles off your List

To eliminate unavailable articles:

  1. Go to the Refine your results column on left hand side of the page (see by watch, below).
  2. Select the Full Text box.
  3. Click on the Update button in the pop up box and your list will be free of articles not available online!

Other quick limits are limiting to articles with references available, limiting by publication date and limiting to Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals. You can see more limit options by selecting Search Options. Just select the option you want and update results. A pop-up window will open that displays all the limit options available.

More on Limits

Narrowing down your results can save you time. These options are available from the right hand column of the result page (look for the watch in the results image in the Save Time on Result List box):

Source types - Use when you want just academic journal articles or one of the other source types.
Publication - Use to narrow down to a specific journal retrieved by your search.
Author - Use to narrow down to a specific author retrieved by your search.
Subject: Thesaurus Term - Use to narrow to a specific subject thesaurus term retrieved by your search. Sort of like subject, but more specific—can be the most effective to narrowing down to your real topic.
Subject - Use to narrow down to a subject retrieved by your search; selecting an appropriate subject one can get you closer to what you really want for your paper.
NAICS/Industry - Use to narrow down to a specific industry retrieved by your results.
Company - Use to narrow down to a specific company retrieved by your search
Publication Type - Use to narrow down to one of the publication types retrieved by your search.
Geography - Use to narrow down to a specific location retrieved by your search, such as United States or Texas.

Understanding Search Results

Search Results

Use the Relevance Pull-Down Menu

You can use Relevance (how closely it matches your search) pull down menu above your result list (see by watch, below) to re-sort your result list by author, source (periodical or other resource in which the article was published) or date. Depending on your topic, sorting by relevance combined with the date limit can really save you some time in your search. By default, EBSCOhost sorts the articles by date, putting the most recent articles at the top of the list.

Use the Summary

Every article on your result list has a summary or abstract on the list. You can use this information to go through your results more quickly. At a minimum it will list information like title of the article, source, publication date, volume, number and issue if applicable, page number(s) in publication and length as published. Many articles will also have an abstract or summary of the article.

The length can be especially helpful. If the article is less than a page, you may want to skip it. It probably will not have enough information to use in your paper. The citation will also indicate if it is a book review, which you can also skip. Generally an article about a book on your subject won't help with your paper.

Quick Tip

Get Scholarly & Peer Reviewed Journals

You probably won't have to use this option for all of your research projects, but if your instructor requires that you use academic, scholarly or peer reviewed journals, this is the easiest way to get them:

  1. Perform a search.
  2. Select Search Options from the Limit your results column, Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals box. All your results will now be from scholarly/peer reviewed journals.