This is the "Process Pt. 1" page of the "Subject Heading Searching " guide.
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Last Updated: Jul 14, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Process Pt. 1 Print Page


Process Part 1

In this section, database searches utilizing Subject Terms will involve making choices among subject terms based on the appropriate focus for your topic. The following properties of subject terms will influence the selection of final terms.

  • subject terms are listed in a hierarchy
  • a subject term is related to other terms which are broader as well as some which are narrower in meaning
  • when entered into a search, the subject term may return results which indicate that the term is misleading or irrelevant

Use of Subject terms within a research database

Subject terms are part of item records. The example shown in figure 1 includes descriptive elements such as Authors, Source, Document Type, Subject Terms, Geographic Terms, Author-Supplied Keywords, Abstract, Author Affiliations, ISSN, DOI, and Accession Number.


Item record with fields highlighted

Figure 1 ______________________________________________________________________________________

To find subject terms to include in your search open the Subject Terms feature which is located on the top the opening page of Academic Search Complete.

Figure 2 - Search Terms Feature in Academic Search Complete

Because subject terms are numerous, examining the scope notes will help determine which term is precise enough to use in the search. The Subject tool in Academic Search Complete displays terms in a hierarchy which consists of terms that are broader in meaning, terms that are narrower in meaning and terms that are related to search term you’ve’ entered.

Let’s say that you want to begin a search on the topic of aquatic resources.

The relationship of aquatic resources to other terms includes several things—a Scope note, a list of Broader terms, a list of Narrower terms, and what the term is Used for.

Aquatic Resources subject hierarchy

Figure 3 Aquatic Resources Heading

1. To add subject terms to the search field, you can mark one or multiple terms and click the ADD button.


Figure 4 Subject Terms Browse Feature

2. By clicking on Add, the term is pasted to the search field.

 Figure 5 Search Term Pasted into Search Field

Take a minute. Test of your understanding of hierarchical subject lists of terms. This link will open an interactive test in which you choose a term with broader meaning.

Advance to Process - Part 2


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