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Higher Education (MAHE)

Offers a hand-picked selection of the best Library Tools for MAHE students in their courses and as they work on their theses.

Focus on Searching

The difference between undergraduate and graduate level research is significant. But it doesn't have to be scary! 

This guide and the Librarians available for individual consultations can set you on the right path of efficient & effective scholarly research. 

You aren't expected to be an expert in using the tools! That's why Librarians are here to help. 

Search Tips for WorldCat

Advanced Search Options in WorldCat

Searching by Field (ti = title, au = author, etc.)

ti:  (search a word(s) in the title)

au: search for author’s name

kw: search for keyword in the major fields (title, author, publication, subject, summary, table of contents)

su: search for a term in an assigned subject heading
(after you have determined relevant subject headings)

yr: year of publication (or a range, yr:2000..2013)


Other Search Tips

  • “…” = quotation marks around an exact phrase
  • OR = either term/related concepts
  • rootword* = any ending/letters to follow the stem/root word (e.g., retain*)


Complex Search Example

 su:college student* ti:(adjust* OR transition* OR retention* OR retain*) kw:“first year” yr:2005..2013
(Link to above search:

Look For:

  • Subject headings to Right of citation information at top (or very bottom) of record
  • Which Libraries own the item—Taylor? IWU? Ball State? You can borrow from these institutions.
  • Request through ILL link

Search Tips for Google (Scholar & Books)

Google Advanced Searching Options

“…” = exact phrase

OR = “or”

— = “not” (minus sign)

~ = synonym searching

Remember: a space implies AND

Also, look for the Advanced Search box, accessible through the arrow in the Search box (adds options for specific author, journal title, or date range searching).

See “Operators and More Search Help” by Google:


Settings for Google Scholar

Upper Right icon (gear)

Choose to exclude patents (check box).

Change # of Results per page—20

To Retain Settings, you must enable Cookies & be signed in to Google.


Settings for Google Books

Look for “Search Tools” button under Search Box on Results page.

Select “Preview Available” where it says “Any books” to gain increased searchability.

Exclude Magazines by selecting “Books” under “Any document”.

Choose a century (19th, 20th, 21st) under “Any time”.

Sort by Relevance or Date.

Search for terms within your selected book in the Left search box, mid-page level.

Search Tips for ERIC

Searching by Subject Terms

Thesaurus – Plug in keyword and Browse for ERIC descriptors/subjects


Conduct a Search by Keyword and look for relevant Subjects assigned to relevant articles


Advanced Searching Tips

Search keywords in Title field (dropdown menu to Right of Search box)

“…” = exact phrase

* = any ending/letters to follow a root word

OR between similar concepts/synonyms in same Search box

Limit to Peer-Reviewed/Scholarly Articles


To Save a Search

Select Add/Save/Alert link from blue bar

Copy & Paste Permalink or Save search to Folder (create an EBSCOhost account and sign in to preserve all items you put into a folder)


Document Types

Narrow to Journal Articles (exclude ERIC Documents, or ED#s)

Submit Thesis/Dissertation requests directly to Lana Wilson, rather than through Interlibrary Loan