The database of Subject Terms used in ProQuest.
Refers to the controlled vocabulary (or official language for the organization of resources) of ProQuest.
Limits and filters allow you to narrow the results down to only the ones that are most relevant. Common limits that are applied include: article type, date, and language.
Tip: the more limits and filters you set, the narrower your results will be. It is possible for you to limit your results all the way down to 0, so be careful.
Tip 2: do not limit by Full Text. As a student of ECU, you can receive the full text of articles either with your PirateID and password, or through our free Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service if ECU does not own a copy of the article. Electronic resources can be e-mailed to your ECU account.
Personal accounts in databases are free, and I strongly recommend creating an account for each database you may use. They are particularly valuable when you need to save your searches for longer than your current browsing period. Closing your browser almost always erases your search history; having a personal account allows you to save searches that you may want to look at again later.
To create an account in ProQuest, click on the icon of the person in the top right-hand corner of the page, then click on Sign into My Research in the dropdown menu.
On the next page, click on Create a My Research account.
Finally, complete the form that pops up. You also have an option to link your ProQuest account to your RefWorks account. I recommend checking this box because doing so will make citation management a great deal easier if these two accounts are linked.
Searching the Thesaurus
To fill out the second row of your concept table, you will need to know the controlled vocabulary for each of your concept groups. To search this in ProQuest, you will need to enter into the Thesaurus and then search each concept group individually. To find the Thesaurus, click on Advanced Search in the top bar.
From this page, click on Thesaurus.
Then, locate the ProQuest Thesaurus, and click the hyperlinked text.
Once inside the Thesaurus, you can begin typing the words to describe each concept group individually.
Select the term or terms that suit your search; if more than one term has been selected, make sure the OR radial has been selected. Click Add to Search.
You will see the command language for ProQuest to identify a search term as a Subject Term. The command language is written as MAINSUBJECT.EXACT(" "). Highlight this entire string, copy and paste into your concept table in your Word document. Repeat this process for all of your concept groups; you do not need to run the searches yet. Instead, after you have pasted the Subject Term into your concept table, you can click on the word Thesaurus and continue to look for Subject Terms.
Building the Advanced Search
My concept table now looks like this after searching the Thesaurus for Subject Terms for all three concept groups:
|Subject Terms||MAINSUBJECT.EXACT("Nurses")||MAINSUBJECT.EXACT("Health literacy")||MAINSUBJECT.EXACT("Rural areas")
MAINSUBJECT.EXACT("Rural health care")
"Rural health centers"
"Rural health nursing"
In your Word document, combine your Subject Terms row and your keywords row for each concept group using Boolean operators. My search becomes:
(MAINSUBJECT.EXACT("Nurses") OR Nurse OR Nurses OR "Nursing personnel")
(MAINSUBJECT.EXACT("Health literacy") OR "Health literacy")
(MAINSUBJECT.EXACT("Rural areas") OR MAINSUBJECT.EXACT("Rural health care") OR Rural OR "Rural areas" OR "Rural health centers" OR "Rural population" OR "Rural populations" OR "Rural health nursing" OR "Underserved populations")
In order to preserve some flexibility in your search, you will now copy and paste each concept group one at a time into the search bar. You can do this from the Advanced Search screen or the main ProQuest screen. Running searches on each concept group individually will allow you to edit each concept group if necessary, or to change how you will pair your concept groups. Note: ignore the results page each time you run your search; those results are only relevant to the one concept group and are not as focused as your final results will be.
After repeating this process for each concept group, now click on Recent Searches from the results page.
This will take you to your search history where you can combine your searches using the Boolean operator AND. ProQuest assigns nicknames for each search, so you will need to type each nickname separated by AND. For instance, my search was S1 AND S2 AND S3. Because you may be required to report your search strategy, it is extremely important to keep the prose version of your search in a Word document. Once you have built your combined search, click on Search.
To limit your results, select the limits on the left-hand sidebar.
To access articles that look relevant to you, click on the article title to open the article page. If ECU has access to the full text, you will see an option to download the PDF. If this option does not appear, please complete the Interlibrary Loan request form to have it e-mailed to you.
If you created a personal ProQuest account, you can save your search. Click on Recent Searches above the results on the results page.
On the next screen, select the searches you want to save by putting a check in the box beside the search. Note: if you applied limits, you will have a new search for each limit you set. Pay attention to which searches you are saving; you can save one, a selection, or all searches. When you have made your selection, click Save.
You will receive a prompt to name your search. I recommend a descriptive name that includes the date you ran the search in ProQuest.
Setting an alert will allow ProQuest to run your search as frequently as you want it to, and you will receive e-mail alerts when new articles become available that meet your search criteria.
To set an alert, hover your mouse over the small downward arrow beside the word Actions from the Recent Searches menu (the same page for saving searches, described in the box above). From the dropdown menu that appears, click on Create alert. Follow the prompts to confirm your e-mail address and frequency to receive new e-mails.