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English 4263 - Russian Literature: Search Tips

Database Search Tips

  1. Be prepared with synonyms in case your original search produces no results. If the database offers a link to a thesaurus or subject terms tab, use it to locate additional or related words for your search terms.
  2. Pay attention to search tips or help screens provided by each database. Take the time to learn how to use the tool - it will help you to avoid frustration!
  3. Remember that most databases allow for Boolean Searching (see the video in this guide). Use and to narrow, or to expand, not to exclude. Truncation is also useful for bringing back all relevant results. For example, type counsel* to bring back documents containing the words counsel, counseling, counselor...
  4. Review the database search screen for a Thesaurus or Subject Terms tab or link.
  5. Review articles, the references with this article, look for sections listing key words or subject terms, and relationships to your focus on the topic.

NSU Libraries Books

For books, both in print and eBook, search the Discovery system.

Controlled Vocabulary

Most databases use a controlled vocabulary to organize information and make browsing more efficient and specific to chosen terms. When building your search string, consider keywords, synonyms or related terms. When searching for information about an author's work, consider combining the author's name and a keyword from the work's title. As some databases may or may not have articles on your topic, consider searching multiple databases simultaneously. EBSCO offers an integrated search, which will search all of the NSU subscribed EBSCO databases at once. See video on this page for an illustration.

The Library Discovery system will search databases and the library collection as well as worldwide libraries simultaneously when using the "Everything" tab. See terms below to use when searching the Library Discovery system.

Combine or group terms or concepts using the Boolean operator "AND" to refine your search string:  afanasyev AND baba yaga or try the search string: pushkin  AND realizing . Check to see if the database offers a Thesaurus or a Subject Terms tab or link. For instance, the database Academic Search Premier offers a "Subject Terms" tab, and the ERIC database features a "Thesaurus" tab. Enter terms in the Browsing box to see how the database recognizes them.

Example search terms:

  • Gothic fiction, Russian
  • Russian Culture
  • Russian Folklore OR Folktales
  • Russian fiction
  • Russian fiction 19th century history and criticism
  • Russian fiction 20th century history and criticism
  • Russian fairytales
  • Russian fiction History and Criticism
  • fantasy fiction Russian
  • Russian folk literature AND history and criticism
  • Russian Literature
  • Russian mythology


Depending on the database, it may offer a variety of ways to limit your results:

  • Full Text
  • Scholarly or Peer Reviewed
  • Publication  or Document Type (journal articles, book reviews, reports)
  • Published Date

For articles that are not available in full text, use the InterLibrary Loan service.

Boolean Operators - Tutorial

Searching Multiple Databases

YouTube video created by NSU Libraries on how to search multiple EBSCOhost databases simultaneously.