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WRT 104/106 Guide for Students: Database Tools

Useful Tools in the Database

After you complete a search and find useful articles there are quite a few tools that can help you sort, expand, narrow, cite and save the relevant articles.

1. Relevance Sort

This is what the sort option looks like in Academic Search Complete:

Once you have completed a search, you can sort your results by different criteria. One of the most useful ways is sorting by relevance. This you can do by clicking on the default "date descending sort" at the top of your results list and then select "relevance." The results that are listed first are the ones which match your search terms the best.

2. Subject Thesaurus Terms

Do you have too many results and need to narrow your search? This is a great tool which can help add relevant terms to your search. Just click on "Subject: Thesaurus Term" which looks like this:


You will then see a menu appear with terms relating to your search. By clicking on the "Show More" link you can see all the terms provided. By clicking the green "Update" button you will add the selected term to your search.     

You can always remove the term you added if you don't want to use it by going to the top of the page and clicking the orange "x" listed next to the term. This box is located on the left of the first result on the page. 


3. Save/Print/Cite

These are tools which can help you further in your research collection and management process.

Once you find an article that you think looks useful, you can save, print or cite it with tools in the database. Click on the title of the article and you will be brought to what is called the record or citation. A record or citation contains all the important information about the article including article title, author(s), source (journal or magazine in this case), abstract (summary of the article), etc. In the record you can use this tool box located on the left-hand side of your screen to help you save, print or cite the article. 

There are quite a few tools, but here are some of the most useful ones: You can save the article to a folder (which is temporary and is gone after you close the window). This allows you to put all of the articles you find in a search in one folder and then e-mail the entire contents of the folder to yourself. You can also e-mail the single citation to yourself. There is a print option and a cite option. The cite button pulls up the citations in MLA, APA and Chicago styles (among others) for your bibliography or works cited page. Make sure to check them over though because there can be errors!

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