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Narrowing a Search: Video Tutorial

Narrowing a Search: Written Tutorial

This tutorial is going to narrow a search using Discover@MU. Most databases can be searched in a similar way.

First, you should search a term on whatever subject you’re looking for. When you click the search bar you come back with over 340,000 results.

complete a basic search

To narrow this result, you can use a variety of methods.

We'll look through using the Boolean AND operator, TITLE field, SUBJECT field, material type, date, word string or phrase, and the Boolean 'NOT' operator.


1) Boolean AND operator

Add another term and in the box below your main subject. To the left of this box, make sure that AND is chosen. If some other word is chosen, click the arrow beside the box where it will drop down and show the choices you want.

add another term and use boolean AND operator


2) TITLE field.

Continuing with the word multiculturalism, hit the drop down button in the box to the right of the subject. Change it from "Select a Field" to "Title" and hit the search button.

choose select a field and change to TI Title



You can narrow the search by SUBJECT. When you find a subject heading, seen in the description, that matches what you need, you can choose to narrow your search by subject heading.

List of subject terms including multiculturalism

To do this, type the subject in the main box, then choose SUBJECT from the dropdown box to the right of your term. Hit the search bar to complete your search.

Change select a field to SU Subject Terms


4) Material Type

You can limit your search by the type of material you are looking for. Are you looking for a book, a scholarly article, something else? Here, we are going to limit to Scholarly or Peer Reviewed Journals.

You can refine your results using the tab on the left and clicking on Scholarly (Peer Reviewed).

Click Academic Peer Reviewed Journals


5) Date

On the left side of the screen in the refine results section, there should be a timeline that shows a variety of publication dates. You can revise the timeline to meet specific date requirements, like finding articles published in the last 10 years.

change timeline to refine date


6) Word String or Phrase

You can also narrow your search by using a string or phrase. If you put two words next to each other, like ford focus, and search, you are not searching for those words next to each other. Use quotation marks around your phrase to find the phrase you are seeking.

put quotation marks on either side of words


7) Boolean ‘NOT’ operator.

This is helpful if you are getting results about two different types of things. In this example ‘jaguar’ returns results about the car and the cat. If we don’t want to know about the car we can add the word ‘automobile’ as a second term. Instead of using the AND, use the drop down arrow to choose NOT. Then click the search button. This removes all references to jaguar that have to do with the automobile.

Add another term and change boolean operator to NOT


If you have any further questions on narrowing a search, or any other research questions, please contact the librarians.