Answered By: Colin Magee Last Updated: Aug 10, 2022 Views: 8
Today you're going to do some searching using the library's ProQuest database. ProQuest is the library's largest database. Unlike the Gale Opposing Viewpoints database, which was good at finding pros and cons on a topic, ProQuest is more for doing scholarly research. It's kind of tricky to get the hang of, so today we'll look at some search strategies and how to filter your search results to get the information that you need.
To access ProQuest, you'll first need to go to the library's website. You can get there through MyPath, or go to the college's website: madisonville.kctcs.edu. Go to "Quick Links" at the top, then "Current Students."
From Current Students, go to "Library."
Now that you're at the library's website, go down to the "Research Databases" tile.
From this page, ProQuest is the first tile on there. Be sure to log in with your KCTCS username and password if prompted.
ProQuest is actually a collection of different databases, which is why it says you're searching 6 different ones. One of the databases is an Ebook collection called ProQuest Ebook Central, and one is a streaming video collection called Academic Video Online. If you wanted to search specifically for books or for videos, you can click the tab above the search box for "books" or for "videos & audio." The main database in ProQuest is ProQuest Central, which is a massive database for finding articles from newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals. You're probably better off searching the whole thing, so make sure the tab above the search box is set to "All," and make sure the checkbox below the search box is set to "full text."
You're going to focus your search today on water supply issues. Just to illustrate how big ProQuest is, I'm going to type in water and we'll see how many results we get.
38 million results. So you can see why it's a good idea to use some search strategies to help you narrow down your search results.
First of all, water is too broad to use as a search term. I'm going to type in water shortages and we'll see what happens.
Now we're down to 1.3 million results. If you look at the titles in your search results, it's doing a pretty good job of finding me articles that have water shortages, or water shortage in the title. The problem is, it's searching for the word water and it's also searching for the word shortages.
You can combine the two words into a phrase by putting quotation marks around the two words.
Now we're down to 389 thousand results. In your search results, it's only showing you articles where water and shortages or water and shortage appear next to each other in the title or the description. So quotations are the most useful way to make a narrower search.
The other tip is to combine other words to your phrase. I'm going to type "water shortages" in quotation marks, AND africa. Now it's going to narrow everything to just dealing with water shortages in Africa. 42 thousand results.
If you scroll to the bottom of your search results, ProQuest will suggest other ways to narrow your search. This gives you some ideas. Let's click on "water shortages AND climate change."
You can see in the search box that it is searching two different phrases now, joined with the word AND. But it's also treating each phrase as an exact subject. That's what the SU.exact means. Basically, each article in the database is tagged with exact subject terms depending on what it's about. Don't worry too much about this -- it might make your searching too narrow. Just stick with the quotation marks for now.
Take a few minutes to practice this on your own, and then in the next video we'll look at filtering.