MHS 1111 - Medicine, Health & the Body

Using the Library Search

Vanderbilt University Library Search

Selecting the best search scope for your research needs:

Everything vs. Library Catalog vs. Articles

Search Scope What is included? When should I use it?
Everything
  • Broadest search scope
  • Results will include books and ebooks, articles, and media like DVDs
  • A great option when you are just beginning your research process.
  • Use Everything when you want to survey the research landscape for your topic
Library Catalog
  • Focuses on VU owned items, physical and digital
  • Results will include books and ebooks, and media like DVDs
  • Digital collections like the TV News Archive will also be included in your results
  • You have defined your information needs
  • Use Library Catalog when you are ready to create a tailored search for your topic
Articles
  • Content from selected VU databases
  • Popular and scholarly articles
  • Use Articles to find popular and scholarly articles on your topic.
  • The Articles scope does not search across all databases accessible to the Vanderbilt community.
  • Not finding the articles you need or want more database options?

For a more detailed explanation of your search scope options consult What am I searching?

 

 

Keyword vs. Subject Searching

Step 1:  Start your search process by brainstorming a list of keywords that describe the main concepts of your topic or question.

Step 2:  Use these keywords for your initial searches.

Step 3:  Use the Subject Heading links in the Library Catalog record to refine your search.

Example of Library Catalog record with subject headings circled.

1.  Use quotes around phrases

2.  Use the "Quick Filters" if you want just books, articles, etc.

3.  If you need peer reviewed sources, apply that filter

4.  Use "Format" for other types of sources such as newspaper articles, book chapters, etc.

5.  Use the date limiter

A complete list of limiters can be found on the left hand side of the screen below "Refine your results".

Screenshot of Library search for the phrase illness narrative