Search limits: the false promise of Full Text

Many of the library databases provide you with the option to limit your search to articles available in full text direct from the database (in the EBSCO family of databases, you will find it on the Refine Search tab). At first glance, this seems like a feature you will want to use in all of your searches. However, if you limit your search to those articles that are available solely from the database you are searching, you will loose many relevant citations in your search results simply because the database does not offer full text access for them. Furthermore, it is possible that the database provides ample full text access, but just not in your chosen subject area. Alternatively, they may only provide access to a limited number of journals in your subject area if they cannot come to a more fruitful agreement with the journal publisher. So instead, refrain from using the full text limit and give yourself a good set of search results to work with. If the article is not immediately available in full text, click the Check for full text link to see if any of the other library database provide coverage (see the Full Text tutorial).

So if you just need to find a single article for an assignment, the full text limit may save you some time. But if you need to do a literature review for your capstone project, or you’ve got a big research paper due at the end of your course, give yourself the option to connect to articles in other database. Remember, the Regis Libraries offer access to thousand of electronic journals, but that access is spread over many different databases. So sometimes you will just need a few extra clicks of the mouse to get
to the article!



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October 2007
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