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Research Guides

Database Tutorials



For broad help with searching, finding full text, creating citations, and saving articles for later, please see the Academic Search Premier (EBSCO) page.

Using Subject Terms

Sometimes, it's very helpful to search by subject term in a database. Subject Terms are words and phrases put onto every article in the database that explain what the articles are about. They're helpful because the language used is standardized and used across the database - which means you get to spend less time searching with synonyms and trying different combinations of keywords.

To get to the Subject Terms list in SocINDEX, go to the top of your screen, and click on the menu option "Subject Terms" (it's the third option from the left).

Once you do that, you'll get a page that looks like this:

SocINDEX Subject Terms menu screenshot


From here, you can type in a keyword into the small search box in the middle of your screen and then choose if you want to search for that word at the beginning of the term, somewhere contained in the term, or display other relevant results.

Once you press browse to the right of the search box, your page will look something like this:SocINDEX Subject Terms screenshot



You can see more information about these subject terms by clicking on the blue links.

If you do that, your screen will look like this:

SocINDEX subject terms more information screenshot

From this screen, you can read notes about the definition of that subject term in the Scope Note, see broader terms, narrower terms, related terms, and synonyms that aren't used as subject terms (Used for).

You can also select terms to add to your search from this screen (I've outlined the button in red).

To search with these subject terms:

  • Click the checkbox to the left of the subject you'd like to search for
  • Go to the dropdown menu that has the word "OR" in it - select one of the Boolean Operators listed:
    • AND: will only display results that include both/all the search terms
    • OR: will display all results with either/any of the search terms
    • NOT: will display results with the previous search terms, but will leave out results that include the following search term
  • Click the Add button to the right
  • If you look up at the top of your screen, your terms will appear in the search box!
  • Click the green search button to proceed as normal.