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Research Skills Tutorial

This is a self-paced, non-credit course that covers research skills, critical thinking, media and internet literacy, and understanding the complexities of the modern information environment (including libraries.)

Understanding Search Results

Library databases are complex and specialized tools that offer numerous features to help you in the research process. Features found on both the Search Results page and the Article Information page (or record) are highlighted in the screenshots below.

Results Page

Regardless of the database you are using, your search results page is going to have the same basic features:

  1. Usually on the left side, some options for limiting your search results.
  2. Above the list of results, the number of results found, as well as a sort option.
  3. The search results themselves. The title will be a link to more information about that search result. 
    • Either an icon to get to the full text (Go to Full-Text, PDF Full-Text, etc.), or a link to check for full text in another database (e.g., Full-Text Finder).
  4. Usually to the right of each result (sometimes the folder option is on the left and other options are below or in the record itself), options to save to a folder, link to, cite and email the record.  The Pin icon, check box or folder icon is used to add that result to a temporary list. If you already have the item in your folder or list, clicking this will remove it. Note: To save items to this list permanently, you must sign in to your account with the database vendor (e.g., for OneSearch - your SUNY Empire username and password, or for EBSCO or Proquest, a separate login specific to that system) using the links provided at the top of the page.

Results Page in OneSearch:

OneSearch results page with limit and other functions highlighted in red

Article Information Page (Record)

Clicking on the title of any information source in your search results page will take you to its Article Information Page or Record. On this page, you will find some or most of this information:

  1. Full title, author(s), publication date, and publication information (publisher of a book or journal title, volume, issue, and pages for an article.)
  2. (if available) Abstract: summary or description of the content
  3. Descriptors or Subject Terms
  4. Often, a suggested citation format for the information source. (Be sure to check it for errors.)
  5. In most databases, a permalink to the information source. Note: Be sure to use this, and not the URL from the address bar of your browser.
  6. A link to the full text of the information source, or a link to check for the full text in another database.
  7. Options to save the information source, and also email it, print it, and export it to a reference management tool.
  8. Another icon or check box to add the item to your temporary folder/list, or to remove it if you have already added it.
  9. Sometimes the HTML full-text of the article (This may be missing page numbers, formatting, and images, but like any webpage, it is searchable using the Ctrl-F hot key combination).

Article Information Page in EBSCOHost:

Screenshot of the article information page. There is a large center column. At the top of it is the title of the article. Below that is Authors. Below that is Source, which has publication information (such as journal title, volume, issue, date, page numbers.) Below that is Document Type. Then Subject Terms. Then Author-Supplied Keywords. Then the Abstract. Then copyright information. Then the ISSN or ISBN. Then the Accession Number, which is not something you need to worry about. Then the database the information source is found in. Then the Publisher logo. The narrow left column shows that this is the "Detailed Record" page. Below that is an icon and link to PDF Full-text and specifies the size of the file. On the right there is another narrow column labeled tools. From top to bottom, the tools are Add To Folder, Print, E-mail, Save, Cite, Export, Create Note, Permalink, and Share.

Article Information Page in a ProQuest Database:

Screenshot of the Proquest Article Information Page. It's labeled Citation/Abstract and has a link for Back to results. Under that is a blue menu bar with (left to right) Add to selected items check-box and then icon links to Save To My Resarch, Email, Print, Cite, Export/Save, Save to Flow, and Share. Below that is the full title, author, journal, volume, issue, date, and page numbers. We have a large left column below that. At the top of it is the Abstract, and there is a Translate link with it. Then there are Indexing Details. Near the bottom of the Indexing Details is the Document URL, which is the permalink. There is a narrower right column. At the top of it is Other Formats. Then Link to Full Text (which is full-text in this particular database) and Check for Full-text availability in all library collections (which searches other databases for it.) Below that is the Cited By information (tells you what information sources cited this information source.) Below that is See Similar Documents. Below that is a set of checkboxes for the "indexing terms" which the subject terms or descriptors. You can put a check in any or all of the indexing terms and click Search to get more articles that are theoretically similar to this one.

Accessibility Note

Please note: If you need to request accommodations with content linked to on this guide, on the basis of a disability, please contact Accessibility Resources and Services by emailing them.  Requests for accommodations should be submitted as early as possible to allow for sufficient planning. If you have questions, please visit the Accessibility Resources and Services website.