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IFP - Writing Persuasive Essays


A SECOND way to find articles is to click on the word databases, beneath the library search box. Click on a subject discipline for a list of databases specific to that subject. Click on general studies for interdisciplinary databases.


  • Don't try to search databases by typing in your full question, like you would in Google .
  • Use the database's 'advanced' search screen. Enter your key words on different lines. Use AND to combine these concepts, as in this screenshot from Academic Source Complete
  • HINT:  If you can't think of how to narrow down your search, just type in your main concept and then look at the subject terms of the records to find useful words. 



More Tips for Successful Database Searching

• Limit your search to peer-reviewed articles, if required by your instructor


• DON'T limit to full-text within any particular database, since the databases are linked to find the full-text elsewhere.


Start your search broad

Start with fewer search terms; then add more to narrow or expand the results 

“AND”  Narrows your search -  japan AND earthquake 
“OR”   Broadens your search - nuclear power OR nuclear energy 

Find the right vocabulary by using database tools, which might include:

 - “narrowing” suggestions or ‘suggested topics’ 

 - lists of authorized ‘subject terms’ (sometimes called a thesaurus)

 • Look at the subject terms assigned to promising articles - then use those terms in a new search


Search the fields that will give you the most targeted results

Default search – this ‘keyword’ search is where you'll begin. 

Subject field - once you've identified authorized subject terms, search this field

Title field - can be an effective way of limiting to relevant articles, especially when vocabulary in the field is changing

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