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Stop words

EBSCO treats certain words as "stop words"––for example, been, however, or so. 

Stop words are always ignored, even if they are enclosed in quotation marks.

The search engine ignores stop words (such as the, for, of and after), finding any single word in its place. For example, if you entered company of America, the search engine would find company of America, company in America, or company for America. It would not find company of the America, because the search engine retains a word distance.

The stop word or will be replaced with any word. For example if you searched for sink "or" swim, the results could include sink don't swim.

If you enter two stop words, the search engine will find any two words in the place of the stop words. For example, if you searched for company of the America, the search engine finds any two words in the place of the stop words.


Quotation Marks

Use double quotation marks when you search terms that appear next to each other for example "Global Warming".

So entering "Global warming" finds different results than global warming because the search engine looks for words in the exact order in any field in the metadata and full text (when applicable). global AND warming find documents that contain both words, even if they are far from each other. "global warming" only finds documents where "global" and "warming" are next to each other.


From EBSCO Support

Seaching Tips


  • Find subject headings for your topic.
  • Start with a keyword search, using words/phrases that describe your topic.
  • Browse the results; choose 2 or 3 that are relevant.
  • Look at the Subject or Descriptor field and note the terms used (write them down).
  • Redo your search using those terms.
  • Your results will be more precise than your initial keyword search.

Refine your search

* Using Connectors (Boolean operators) :

Boolean operators connect phrases or keywords to improve your search results.


will narrow your search showing articles which contain both keywords.


will broaden your search showing results which contain at least one of your keywords.


will narrow your search excluding certain words from your results.


* Using Truncation and Wildcards :

A truncator is used to retrieve all the different ways a keyword might appear in the database. The symbol commonly used is the asterisk *.


For example, environ* will retrieve environs, environment, environments, environmental, environmentally etc.


A wildcard replaces a letter within your keyword. For example, behavio?r will retrieve behaviour and behavior.

Using Punctuation

If you enter phrases with punctuation, the search engine searches for the term both with and without the punctuation. For example, if you enter Part-Time, the search engine finds results with Part-Time and Part Time.

Field Ranking

Every record in EDS contains numerous fields that can assist the user in locating the information they seek, the most influential fields in EDS are:

  • Matches on subject headings
  • Term appearance in the title
  • Author-supplied keywords
  • Keywords within abstracts
  • Match on keywords in the full text

How to recognise a peer reviewed journal Article?

Not sure whether it is a scholarly article?  Look out for the following criteria:

  • Does the periodical title focus on a specific field or subject?
  • Can you find a clear list of author(s), their degrees, credentials, affiliations, titles etc.?
  • Has the article been cited in a subject specific online journal database?
  • Is the article longer than 4-5 pages and includes complex content?
  • Does the article contain technical language / specialised vocabulary?
  • Are you using data or information?  Information will be based on qualitative or quantitative observations, measurements, analysis, interpretations, conclusions, reference to other sources, opinions, authors, literature review etc.?
  • Have you checked if there are in-text and bibliographic citations and if they are reliable and true?
  • What about the way it was written?  Are there spelling errors, use of inappropriate or inflammatory language etc.
  • Can you identify an abstract, introduction, problem statement, background and review of literature,  applicable research methods, discussion of findings, conclusion, footnotes and in-text citations and in-depth bibliography?
  • If an article, has it been sponsored by a renowned academic university department or professional and scholarly society or association?