Answered By: Allison McDermott
Last Updated: May 13, 2021     Views: 118

Using date ranges in the library can be tricky because the databases do not recognize them. The best thing to do in this situation is use terminology to describe the period of time you are researching. A quick search of Google or Wikipedia on the civilizations you are researching can provide the names of the eras of ancient history.

Now that you have some time period labels about the two civilizations you are researching, we recommend using Library OneSearch to do these searches, because it searches across most of our databases at once and can give the broadest search results. It is recommended that you use the Advanced Search option because it provides you with multiple search boxes to work with, which is great for organizing your search. You can access this feature by taking the following steps:

1. From the library’s homepage, click on the Library OneSearch Advanced Search link:

Yellow arrow pointing to the advanced search link within the Library OneSearch box.

2. Then enter the time periods you want to focus on in the first search box. Let’s say for example "Iron age" or "bronze age" or "classical antiquity". The quotation marks tell the database to search the words within the quotations as an exact phrase, and the word OR tells the database to bring back results from any one of those three eras. You can add more eras with additional OR in between them

3. You can have China or Rome in the second search box if you are looking for articles that cover either civilization.

4. In the third search box, you can put in keywords related to one of the topic areas you are researching. For example, you can try one search with socioeconomic status or socioeconomic factors, another search for gender roles or sex roles or gender stereotypes, and so on.

5. You may also want to try field searching to narrow in on more precise results. You will find the field search options by clicking the Select a Field (optional) drop-down menu next to the search boxes. Three particularly effective options are:

  1. SU Subject (which searches for the words as a major topic of the article)
  2. TI Title (which searches for the words in the title of the article)
  3. AB Abstract (which searches for the words in the summary of the article)

We usually recommend trying all three of those options, especially on the search box that you want your results to focus on.

advanced search example for HIS103 final project. Red box around the SU Subject Terms box.

6. Then click search. Since you'll need scholarly sources you'll want to check the Scholarly/Peer Reviewed box under "Limit To" in the refine results section in the left portion of the page.

red box around limit to scholarly/peer reviewed

If you still have questions you can chat in real-time with a librarian here.

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