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Communication Studies 701: Communication Source

Communication Studies Librarian

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Kristin Echtenkamp
Briggs Library 123
Phone: 605-688-5958


Types of Searches

Basic Search - one search box with the search options below it

You can still search multiple concepts by using quotation marks for phrases. All words are searched as keywords unless you use the codes and the right syntax to specify otherwise.

Advanced Search - three search boxes to list individual concepts separates (with the option of adding more boxes) with field specifications for each box with the search options below it

This makes searching for multiple concepts easier to see as each concept is put on individual lines. You can also specify that one piece is the author or a subject heading without knowing the codes for that field.

Search History - the search history shows by default below the search box. You can turn it off by clicking the link.

As you do more searches, this may become distracting; however, you can combine searches by using the search history. Click in the box next to the searches you want to combine then choose whether you want to combine them so all your terms are included in every result ("Search with AND") or whether you one all the results from either search to show in one search result list ("Search with OR"). You can also delete searches that didn't work here.


Expanders include determining how your search is executed:

  • Boolean/Phrase means that phrases are searched unless you put AND, OR, or NOT between concepts.
  • Find all my search terms is our default and that automatically puts AND between every word. To search a phrase, put quotation marks around it.
  • Find any of my search terms puts OR between every word.
  • SmartText Searching allows you to put in normal English and Ebsco tries to determine which words to search and how to combine them (AND, OR, or NOT).

You can have Ebsco apply any related words within its thesaurus as well.

You can specify that Ebsco search not only the title, abstract, subject headings, and other parts of the record, but the full text as well (if the full text is available in teh Ebsco database).

If you are using multiple databases at once and using subject terms, Ebsco can try to determine what the equivalent subject term is in another thesaurus and use those terms as well.


To narrow your results and make them more relevant to what you want, you can use a number of techniques.

Full text allows you to limit to only those article available in full text from Ebsco.

Peer reviewed limits to articles in journals that are peer-reviewed. Note that this applies to journals as a whole, not individual articles so editorials or book reviews from a peer reviewed journal will look as though they are peer reviewed when they might not be.

You can search for articles within a specific publication title.

You can look for types of publications like academic journals. Note that not all academic journals are peer reviewed.

You can limit by language so you only see articles you can understand.

You can limit to only those that are full text in pdf format. Some articles are html format (they look like they were typed into the database).

Articles with references in the database can allow you to see what other articles are being referenced.

You can limit by date if you are concerned with only current articles or articles contemporary to a period.

If you know the ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) of a journal, you can search for that if you want articles from a specific journal.

You can look for specific document type such as interview.

You can limit to the cover story of a periodical. This is more useful for popular type magazines than for scholarly journals.

There are also image limiters - those articles with Image Quick Views (you can see the images from the database) and those with specific types of Image Quick Views.

Refine Results

You can sort your results by Date (newest to oldest or vice versa), source (journal), author, or relevance. The default sort is by relevance.

On the left side of the results screen is a panel that allows you refine your results to narrow in on what you really want.

You can limit what you see by full text so you get only articles that are available from within Ebsco. You will miss some articles that you have access to from other sources.

You can limit to articles that have references listed in the database but that will eliminate many articles just because they are not as complete in the database as others are.

You can limit to articles from peer-reviewed journals. Note that this limiter really refers to a journal as a whole, not an individual article. If editorials or book reviews are listed that come from a peer-reviewed journal, they will be listed as peer-reviewed as well even though they are probably not.

The date slider allows you to limit to a period of years or a specific year.

Source types allows you to limit to specific types of source like academic journals. Note that not all academic journals are peer-reviewed.

There are two fields for subject - one searches the thesaurus - a controlled vocabulary applied by those indexing the articles and the other uses keywords supplied by the author and different terms may mean the same thing.

Publication allows you to limit to a specific title. 

Publisher allows you to limit to a specific publisher. One publisher may publish several journal titles that would be included.

Company refers to any companies or organizations featured in an article.

Language is fairly obvious and allows you to limit to one or more languages that you can understand.

Geography can be useful but be careful because an article may include a geographic area but not have that area listed. For example, you might look for an area like "midwest" when an article refers to the "plains states" but not the "midwest". Although the two overlap, you would not see that article.


Add an Account in Ebsco

Click on the Sign In link in the blue bar at the top of the screen.

Click on Create a New Account.

Fill out the form.

This allows you to save searches for later use. You can also save articles in folders.

Set Up Alerts

Ebsco can run your search for you automatically and send you new results with an account.

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