Core Databases

How to Use Subject & Thesaurus Terms

Databases have unique sets of controlled vocabularies, or subject headings, which can help you narrow your topic and target your results. Combine several subjects together or combine subject headings or thesaurus terms with keyword searches.

opens new windowDE "CLIMATE change" AND fires (in Environment Complete, DE = subject heading or thesaurus term)
opens new windowDE "GEOLOGIC hot spots" AND (pollutants OR "soil contamination" (in Environment Complete)
opens new windowDE "BIODIVERSITY conservation" AND ("protected areas" OR "ecosystem management") (in GreenFILE, subject term and keyword search)

How to Find Thesaurus or Subject Heading Terms

Thesaurus in opens new windowEnvironmental Complete database:

thesaurus in Environment Complete

Subject Terms in GreenFILE database:

GreenFILE subject terms

Use Database Limiters

  • Use database limiters, usually available on the Advanced Search page, to refine your search.
  • Eliminate issues with variant spelling using truncation (*).

What are your paper requirements? Do you need to find peer-reviewed articles? Are there date restrictions for your resources?
Use the database limiters to help refine your search result list. Set relevant limits, such as Date, Scholarly Peer-Reviewed articles, and other limiters to refine your search.

Search Strategies

Use the chart below to guide you in developing effective search expressions.

Search Strategies