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John Garrison
McGill G01 (ground floor)

Using Academic Search Ultimate


EBSCOhost is an online reference system that features many databases as well as ways to search multiple databases at the same time. This guide will focus on searching Academic Search Complete, a broad database with thousands of journals, magazines, and other sources.  However, many of the tools and strategies you’ll use searching Academic Search Complete can also be used in other EBSCO databases


"Subject Terms" - used to browse controlled vocab; "More" - used to search images; The main search bar is center screen

More Basic Search Options

  • Apply limiters such as Full Text or Publication type
  • Apply related words to expand your search

Advanced Search with Single Find Field

Advanced Search Options

Advanced search can be accessed directly to the left of basic search, and will allow you to use more extensive search strategies.

  • Search modes change the way your search is conducted. Academic Search Complete supports searching:
    • Boolean/Phrase (using AND OR or NOT),
    • Find all my search terms (you’ll likely want to use this most of the time),
    • Find any of my search terms (if you’re searching something specific and not sure what words to use),
    • SmartText Searching (natural language searching where you can enter phrases, sentences, or paragraphs of your own text).
  • Limit your results by Full Text or Publication Type.
  • Additional rows can be added to the search by clicking the plus button Plus button icon


To refine your results to further narrow your search try

  • Refining by Full Text to remove unavailable articles from your results
  • Sort by relevance, author, or source in the drop-down menu above your list
  • Utilize the summary to determine the usefulness of an article more quickly
  • Narrow down your result with more limits

You can limit your search using a number of categories.

  • Limit Source types to find one type of source, like academic journal articles
  • To search by journal, limit by Publication
  • Use Subject: Thesaurus Term to narrow to a specific subject thesaurus term retrieved by your search. This can be useful to narrow down your topic.
  • Limiting by NAICS/Industry can narrow to a specific industry in your results
  • You can also limit by Publication Type

Article Tools

screen capture of the Tools bar

Academic Search Complete has a number of useful tools:

  • Create a folder to keep track of relevant articles. Use the add to folder icon to save to the EBSCOhost folder.
  • Save can be used to save the article with a citation style of your choice. If you are saving multiple files, be sure to rename each as EBSCOhost will make the default name the same each time.
  • Cite icon at the top of the article to get an auto-generated citation in AMA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, MLA, and Vancouver/ICMJE.
  • Create Note creates a new window. The citation information for the article appears in the Context area. Notes can be saved with an EBSCOhost account in your My EBSCOhost folder.
  • Permalink creates links that can be accessed indefinitely (The URL generated from your search cannot be accessed long-term.)
  • Get the full text on the right side of the article. This will allow you to download a PDF if that option is available for that source.

Text guide created by Megan Beaule '19