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MUS 503

Top Article Databases

Tips and Tricks

Create a search query.
Databases often require that you use AND or OR to combine multiple terms/keywords when
executing a search.
● AND narrows your search by connecting keywords. Search results must contain all terms
connected by AND.
● OR broadens your search. It indicates that only one of the terms must appear. (Hint: This is a
good operator to use with synonyms.
● Place two or more words in quotation marks “ “ to indicate a phrase.

Search using the Advanced Search option.
The Advanced search option will often show you useful filters and limits that are already built into
the database interface such as publication date and type, language, intended audience, scholarly
journals, and more. Consider using these when you have a large result set that you need to narrow

Use “cited by links” for more recent sources.
Google Scholar records often include a “cited by'' feature that allows you to see which articles have
cited this article in their work. In databases like PsycINFO or Web of Science, this feature is called
“Cited References.” These lists contain more current research in the field and can help you:
● Assess the importance of your source to other researchers
● Indicate more recent shifts of thought or developments on your topic
● Expand your list of relevant sources
When using this technique, remember to always assess whether your original research article is
being supported or refuted in the more recent literature.

Revise your search query.
Searching is an iterative process, which means that with each search you are learning new
information you can use to improve your search strategy. Keeping track of where you looked, new
terms you discovered, and what search strategies worked or didn’t work can help you modify your
search query until your research is complete.

(Credit Danielle Worthy)

Setting Up BSU Full Text Access in Google Scholar

Google Scholar can be set up to provide access to some of Boise State's full text articles.

Step 1: Go to and select the Menu in the top left corner of the screen

Google Scholar home page with arrow pointing toward menu

Step 2: Click the "Settings" link at the bottom of the menu.

Google Scholar Settings menu

Step 3: Click the "Library links" link in the left-side menu

Link to find Library links in Google Scholar settings

Step 4: Use the search box to find Boise State, check the appropriate boxes, and click the "Save" button

Google Scholar library links for Boise State

General Databases