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REST335: Marriage and Family- Scialabba: Getting Started on your Search


This page offers guidance and examples of the best methods of research for assignments in Marriage and Family. 

  • Look up your topic in the preceding Reference-Start Here tab first!
    • Once you have a good understanding of the basis of your research interest follow the prompt below.
  • Advanced Search
    • Students will be researching complex topics for their assignments in this course, so searches should generally begin on the  Advanced Search page of the library catalog or database searches. The Advanced Search page will offer more search fields and more options to limit and expand the search.
  • Subject Headings
    • Subject Headings or provided terms from the database thesaurus will give you more focused results and help keep your results specific to your needs. 
    • However, they limit your search more than Keyword Searches do, and may cause you to miss out on an article for which you did not know you were looking. 
    • Try a Subject Heading search and then expand to a keyword search if you do not find what you need.
  • Synonyms or Alternative Phrases
    • If a search term is not giving you the results that you need, try using synonyms or alternative phrases relating to the same topic. 
    • For example, try "Jewish" in addition to "Judaism", or "Muslim" in addition to "Islam."
  • Research early
    • giving you the opportunity to utilize the interlibrary loan process if it is needed. 
    • allowing you time to alter your topic if necessary.
  • The databases on this page were selected because they are useful for a broad variety of subjects, but also because the tips given for ProQuest Central will be useful in all ProQuest databases and the tips given for Academic Search Elite will be useful in all EBSCOhost databases.
  • If additional help is needed, contact Ask-A-Librarian with any questions or to make an appointment with a librarian.


  • Below are some example searches of both above databases, Academic Search Elite and ProQuest Central, that you can look to for reference to make your own searches more fruitful.

EBSCOhost Searching (Academic Search Elite)

Searching in Academic Search Elite

  1. Determine one or two components of the topic you have selected.  For example, if you are researching Judaism's positions on marriage and divorce, your two components are Judaism and marriage or Judaism and divorce.
  2. Select "Subject Terms" from the drop menu next to the first search field.
  3. Begin typing your first search term.
  4. As you type, EBSCOhost will use auto-complete to offer you preselected search terms.  Choose the one that seems the most apropriate to your topic.  In the example shown, typing in the word "Jewish" offered "Jewish" as a Subject term, but it also offered the term "Jewish Law," which turned out to be a closer match to what the search was actually looking for.
  5. Enter the term "divorce" in the next search field to further limit results to articles which contain the term "divorce" somewhere in the article, its abstract, or its record.
  6. Click Search.
  7. Options for further limiting results are located on the lefts side of the results screen.  Limit by full text, scholarly articles, date ranges, or relevant subject headings.

ProQuest Searching (ProQuest Central)

Searching in Proquest Central

  1. Determine one or two components of the topic you have selected.  For example, if you are researching Islam's positions on man's responsibility to the environment, your two components are Islam and the "environmental ethics".
  2. Select "Subject Headings" from the drop menu next to the first search field.
  3. Click "Thesaurus" to access designated subject headings.  Enter a search term and pre-approved vocabulary will be provided.  "Islam" is a designated subject heading, which can be entered in your first search box.
  4. Enter the term "environmental ethics" in the next search field to further limit results to articles which contain the term. Use quotation marks to keep the words "environmental" and "ethics" together as one term.
  5. Select the "Full Text" limiter if you are not interested in receiving records for which you would have to request the full text through interlibrary loan.
  6. Click "Search" to see the results page. 
  7. On the results page you can narrow your results by source type.  Click "Scholarly Journals" to limit your results to scholarly articles.

Search Page

Results Page

FoxHunt works too!

If you keep finding that your results are too specific try a broader search in FoxHunt using similar search techniques! 

The video below, in detail, demonstrates searching in FoxHunt and using its limiters successfully.