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Using Academic Search Complete


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This tutorial will show you how to use Academic Search Complete, a popular library database.


Use the active webpage on your right to complete the tutorial.

What is Academic Search Complete?

Academic Search Logo

Academic Search Complete is an easy-to-use search tool  that can help you find information on a wide variety of topics. Articles from newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals are available in Academic Search Complete. Using Academic Search Complete and other library databases can save you time and frustration!


Accessing Academic Search Complete

To access the Academic Search Complete database:

  • Click on the Databases tab in the search box in the upper right hand corner of the library homepage
  • Click See all databases.

databases tab

  • Click on the Academic Search Complete link in the right hand column of the page.

Images_Find_Academic Search Complete

Constructing Your Search

Searches that are not too broad yield the best results. Let's say you are researching a broad topic like  plagiarism. How could you narrow that down? Add additional concepts like who, what, where.

  • Who? students, faculty, etc.
  • What? grades, GPA, etc.
  • Where? high schools, colleges, etc.

Now, combine these concepts to ask a research question. For example:

Do college students who plagiarize have higher GPAs than those who don't?

It's a good idea to brainstorm for other potential terminology for each concept. For example:

plagiarism OR copying

college OR university

student OR undergraduate

GPA OR grades

  • Enter these concepts in the database search boxes. (Click the + to add an additional box.)
  • Click Search.

images of search strategy in Academic Search Complete

Narrowing Search Results

The list of articles you see in your results list could come from:

  • Newspapers like The New York Times
  • Popular magazines like Newsweek
  • Scholarly journals like School Psychology Quarterly

Use the icons next to the titles to determine article types.

If your results list is too large, narrow it down using limiter options on the left like Publication Date, Source Types, and Subject: Thesaurus Terms.

image of limiters in Academic Search Complete

Evaluating Search Results

Once you have your results narrowed down, use the article titles to evaluate usefulness for your research. Article abstracts can also help you determine relevance.

What is an abstract?

  • Click on the title of any article in your results list
  • The information you see is called the article record
  • Scroll down the article record to read the abstract
  • Repeat this process until you find articles that you can use for your research

Accessing Full Text

The article record may not include the full text of the article. However, there are several ways to access full text:

  • Click on the PDF Full Text link
  • Click on the HTML Full Text link
  • Click on the UC-eLinks button
  • UC-eLinks will usually allow you to click through to the full text
  • Occasionally, UC-eLinks may prompt you to request the article through Interlibrary Loan

What is Interlibrary Loan?

WARNING! Clicking UC-eLinks now will take you to a new tab and you will lose these tutorial instructions. You might want to wait and try this later.

Using Database Tools

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Academic Search Complete (and most other databases) have tools that can help make your research more efficient. For example, the database tools can help you:

  • Find additional articles on the same topic
  • Save, print, or email the articles you find
  • Create citations for bibliographies
  • Create a link back to the article(s)

Using Database Tools

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 To find additional articles on the same topic:

  • Look at the screen to the left of the article record
  • Look for links that could include Cited References; Times Cited in this Database; Find Similar Results
  • Clicking any of these links may lead you to more useful articles

images in Academic Search Complete, other search options

Using Database Tools

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To save, print, email, cite, or link back to articles:

  • Look at the screen to the right of the article record
  • Use these tools to help you keep track of the articles you find.
  • You can even share your article results on Facebook! (See Share Link)

Tools box, including Google Drive; Add to Folder; Print; Email; Save; Cite; Export; Create Note; Permalink; Share

Academic Search Complete Help Resources

If you get stuck with your search or have technical difficulties, Academic Search Complete provides phone and email support 24 hours a day M-F, and 9-5 EST on Saturday and Sunday. FAQs and more tutorials are also available. Look for the Help link in the far right of the blue band at the top of the screen to access these resources.

Top right corner of the database, including the Help link


This concludes the Using Academic Search Complete tutorial. Now that you've finished:

  • Complete the short 3-question quiz on the next page.
  • Enter your email and your professor's email when prompted. Send the email.
  • Print your quiz results if desired.
  • Let us know what you think about the tutorial by clicking on the feedback link.

Thank you!



What is an abstract?

What does UC-eLinks help you to do?


Choose the BEST answer to this question. Which of these features are supported in Academic Search Complete?


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