Narrowing Down Those Results

So you did a database search, and it returned 20,000 results. Here are some tips to narrow that list down to just what you need.


Using Filters and Limiters

  • If you're using Ebsco Discovery Service (the main search bar on the library home page), look on the left side of the result list. There are several options for narrowing down that mountain of results, including:
    • Limit To: Only want peer reviewed articles? Or Pro/Con Articles? Or only want to see results for articles we have the full text of?  Just check the corresponding box in this section. It looks like this:
      • The "limit to" section of the Ebsco result page.
    • Publication Date: Use this slider to set a date range for the results.  Only want articles from the last five years? Set it for 2017 - 2022.  It looks like this:
      • The publication date slider on the Ebsco search results page.
    • Source Types: Use this section to limit results to a specific kind of source, like academic journals, or newspapers, or non-academic magazines. It looks like this:
      • The "Source Types" filter on the Ebsco search results page.
    • Geography, Language, and Subject: If you scroll further down, you find a group of limiters, including Geography, Language, and Subject.  Use Geography if you only want articles or ebooks about a specific area of the world. Use language if you're getting lots of results in languages you don't know.
      • Other filtering options from Ebsco, including: geography, language, subject, lexile range, publisher, publication, and databases.
    • For the Subject filter, we usually recommend that you click on the "Show More" option at the bottom. From there, you'll see a pop-up window with all of the possible subjects in your results list.  Just check what you want, then click on "Update."
      • The pop-up subjects window from the Ebsco search results page.


Reading the Abstract

  • Okay, you've got your results list narrowed down to a more reasonable size.  Now how do you know which sources to use without reading the whole article?  Use the abstract!  Once you've clicked on an article, just scroll down until you see a section labeled "Abstract."  This is a summary of the article, usually including results and conclusions.  You can often tell from this summary whether you can use the source or not.
  • An article description in Ebsco Discovery Service, with the "abstract" section highlighted.


Check Those Citations

  • But what if you can't find enough sources?  If you find one that's just right, be sure to read its "Works Cited" or "Bibliography" section.  This will often lead to more articles on the same topic!
  • Last Updated Aug 07, 2022
  • Views 6
  • Answered By Jonathan Beam

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 0 0

Contact Us

These questions may be specific to the CMC Steamboat Campus Library and/or Steamboat Campus.  Even if they aren't about the Steamboat Campus, we are here to help so please just ask!

Fields marked with * are required.