Learn to Search

Use Advanced Search Symbols

You will often complete a search but need to narrow it down more or even change the search altogether. Changing keywords and connectors is one way to do this, but the database gives more filter options.

Quotation Marks

Use quotation marks if you are searching for two or more words as a phrase. When you enclose the words in quotation marks, the databases will search for those words together instead of as individual words.


"Battle of the Bulge"

The above example will return sources on The Battle of the Bulge. If you search without quotes, it may return sources on The Battle of the Bulge, but it may also return sources on battle or bulges in general.


Parentheses can be used to group similar keywords or synonyms together as a single topic.


 impact AND (WHO OR "world health organization")

By grouping the acronym WHO and its written-out form together, the database will search for it either way.

Tip! Some databases don't require parentheses, but they can help visually group terms together.


An asterisk can replace the ending of a word to search all forms of that word; this is a strategy called truncation.



The above example will become child, children, childhood, childish, etc. This is a useful strategy when searching for words that can be written in different forms, like cultural competency/culturally competent.

Use Advanced Search Filters

Subject Filter

When clicking on this filter, you will see many words that are possibly related to your search. Think of the subject words as main topics or main ideas. When you choose one or more of those subject words, it will narrow your search to see those words as a main topic.


CINAHL is the only database that provides a filter for geographic location. You can find a link to this database under the Database Shortcuts menu on the library homepage.

If CINAHL does not generate enough results on your topic after selecting the location, then do a search from the Search Everything box on the library homepage. Since there isn't a location filter in this search system, here are a couple ways to determine where the research was conducted:

  • Select an article from the results and read through the abstract, paying close attention to the methodology section.
  • Select an article from the results and check the author(s) affiliations in the publication details.

Also, sometimes the location is included in the title, so you can quickly eliminate articles in the search results if they specify a location other than the one required.

Find and Share Permalinks

Step by Step Instructions

The Search Everything box is the search box on the library homepage that searches all of the databases in Chamberlain Library at once. To find a permalink in this search system, follow the steps below.

  1. From the search results, click on the permalink (chain link) icon to the right of the source's title.

  1. Select Copy the Permalink to Clipboard below the citation.

  1. Paste that link into your document.

Step by Step Instructions

To find the permalink for an article in an EBSCO database like CINAHL or Medline Complete, follow the steps below.

  1. From the Search Results page, click the title of the article you're interested in.

  1. This will take you to the Detailed Record for the article.

An article's Detailed Record contains all the important information about an article. It's also where you can find a number of other tools besides the permalink button, so be sure to explore what's there!

  1. On the right-hand side of the page, look for the Tools menu.

  1. Under Tools, select the Permalink icon.

  1. A box will appear above the title of the page containing a long URL that starts with https:// -- that's the permalink.

Step by Step Instructions

To find permalinks in the OVID database, follow the steps below.

  1. Go to the article in OVID, and look for the Tools menu on the right-hand side of the page.

  1. Select Email Jumpstart.

  1. A box will appear in the center of the screen -- the Jumpstart URL is your permalink. Once you've copied the permalink, you can close the box. You don't need to do anything else.

Step by Step Instructions

To find permalinks in ProQuest databases, follow the steps below.

  1. Select the article title from the search results in ProQuest to open the detailed record.

  1. Select the Details tab right below the article title.

  1. Scroll down the page to the Document URL -- that link is your permalink.

The Browser URL is the Permalink

In the following databases, the Browser URL is the permalink:

  • Science Direct
  • Wiley
  • DOAJ

You can find the Browser URL at the top of your browser window as shown below.

Manage Your Sources

Best Practices

Once you've found a source (or ten!) you want to read or use for an assignment, you will want to be able to easily get back to the sources again. The library has different recommendations on managing citations but the number one rule is to find a method that works for you!

  • Many of our databases offer the ability to email yourself a permalink or PDF copy of a source.
  • Search Everything has a "Pinning" feature where you can quickly save and export sources. Once you have logged into your account, click the pin icon on any source to add it to your favorites. If you are not logged into your personal account, pinned items will not be saved permanently. 
  • Animation of the Add to Favorites feature
  • If you have a few sources, it may be easiest to keep track of your citations in a text document (e.g. Word) or a spreadsheet.
  • If you have many sources, consider using one of the citation manager tools provided by the library.

Note! Each citation manager is different and we always recommend double checking the citation for accuracy.