Advanced Searching Tutorial 1. Welcome to JSTOR! This tutorial will show you how to search for articles using the Advanced Search, tips that you can apply to many search engines and databases. 2. A few things to remember before we begin: a. JSTOR is full-text. It is not a citation database. b. Synonyms are critical to advanced searching. The terms I use might not be the same as others in my community or in other locations. Adjust your search terms to account for synonyms. c. Searching is iterative. Try and try again. d. If you do find something useful, save it to MyJSTOR. Don’t waste time trying to recreate the search later on. 3. Let’s start with the Advanced Search page. 4. We have more choices in the Advanced Search interface than we do in Basic Search. 5. What do you want to search for? 6. I want to search for slavery in West Africa. I can enter all of that into the first line. 7. Tip #1: JSTOR uses stop words. These are words that will not be searched because they are too common and will slow everything down. These stop words include in, at, the, a, an and more. Don’t include them unless you use quotation marks around the entire phrase. 8. Tip #2: Quotation marks will search the terms as they appear. Be sure you are very confident in this exact order before using quotation marks. 9. As an example, I search for To be or not to be with and without quotation marks. Notice any differences? 10. We can select full-text, author, item title, abstract or caption. Captions are basically image searches, images that appear in the article itself. 11. Tip #3: Be very careful searching only for abstracts. 90% of the articles do not have them so you will be eliminating the vast majority of the database. 12. We can select AND, OR, NOT or do a search for words near each other. The closer they are in an article, generally speaking the greater their relevance to one another. 13. We can limit our search to full-length articles, reviews, editorials and pamphlets. I want to include both full-length articles and pamphlets so I check those boxes. 14. For articles published in a certain time-frame, I can enter that here. I should be careful with my search and dates. Was it always referred to as West Africa? Did it have a different name? Once again, synonyms are important, especially in regards to time. Remember Ghana used to be the Gold Coast, Taiwan used to be Formosa, Sri Lanka used to be Ceylon. Names change.
15. Be careful with different spellings of the same word or plurals or variations of the term. You can account for that with a wildcard. 16. Tip #4: A wildcard is a * and that will replace any number of terms after the wildcard. For example, a search with Afric* will find results containing Africa, African, and Africans. 17. The same is true for stem searching. Use the pound symbol # to find variations of a word. Goose# will find goose, geese, gosling. 18. So back to my search. I put slavery on the first line. I type “West Africa” on the second line. 19. I click search. I have over 7600 results. I want to refine that a bit. I click Modify Search. 20. Searching is iterative. You narrow down your results one step at a time. I want to limit my search to Articles, so I check that box. I click Search. I am down to 3800. 21. I click Modify Search. I want to limit my results to African Studies and History. I click Search. I have over 2000 results. 22. Tip #5: Think about the different disciplines that might have results you want. A lot of articles that might be good for my research will appear in disciplines other than African Studies and History. I could find some in Anthropology, African American Studies, Geography, Population Studies and maybe Sociology. It helps to check multiple disciplines at least in your first few searches. 23. I only want results published in the 1980s so in the Date Range field, I enter 1980 to 1989. I click search. Now I have 429 results. A fairly manageable list. 24. I can do all of this at one time, but it is important to understand that searching is a process. I won’t know what is in the database until I slowly narrow my searching to exactly what I want. 25. Rather than recreate this search each time I come back to JSTOR, I save these results once I create a MyJSTOR account. I click Login. If I have a Username and Password I enter it here. If not, I just need to register. 26. Once I login or register, I can check the boxes next to the results and then click Save Citations. 27. Tip #6: the citations you save in MyJSTOR will be available for you regardless of what school you attend. If you change schools, they will come with you. These citations will not disappear at any time. 28. If I want to print an article, I click PDF. I can then print from the PDF Reader. 29. If I want a handy reference to all the different searching options, click Help and then Searching JSTOR. This Help page will list all the different tricks that are available on JSTOR and many search engines and databases. 30. If you want to learn more about Advanced Searching, Information Literacy or even how to do research for a research paper, we are available to conduct webinars. Just send us an email at email@example.com to schedule one for your class or colleagues.
Published on Apr 27, 2010