How do you begin a database search?
When you search a database, you have to use succinct, descriptive terms that describe what you're looking for, rather than a Google-like search. For example, if you enter the search phrase "walking dead television show in today's popular culture" into the Academic Search Premier database you'll receive the following message: "Your initial search query did not yield any results." When you break your search into smaller terms, the result is different, as shown below. The search terms have been highlighted in yellow.
What should you do if you don't get many relevant results?
Many things have been written about The Walking Dead in popular culture, but the search shown above only returned one result. When you run into a situation like this, consider changing from a keyword search to a full-text search. Many databases are set up to default to searches for key-words - specific words and phrases that appear in specific sections of an article's database record. A keyword search does not search the full text of the article. The image below indicates how you can switch from a keyword to a full text search. First, click on the drop-down menu arrow to the right of each search box. You'll be presented with a number of different search options, including the second one on the list "TX-All Text". Select that option to do a full text search.
How do you examine your results set?
As you can see from the image below, when you do a full text search for "walking dead" and "popular culture" and "vampires" you retrieve 31 results, compared to the single result we received in the first search. You'll see that the box labeled "source types" on the left side of the page shows you that the results come from a variety of different sources, including magazines, scholarly journals and trade publications.