ProQuest Quick Start Tutorial

The steps and screen shots displayed below will show how to access and do basic keyword and topic searching using the ProQuest research database via the Empire State College library.

Before You Begin
If you are unfamiliar with accessing the college's research databases or entering your college login, review the "Access" quick start tutorial.

To Access ProQuest

  1. Go to library's home page at
  2. Click on "All Databases by Title" on the left side under "Journals & Articles.".
  3. Scroll down to "ProQuest Databases" in the table (listed alphabetically) and click on it.
  4. Enter your college login and password.

Once in the default search interface (shown below), use the text box and other options below it to formulate your search. Here are some basic search tips:
    • put double quotes around any search phrase or exact combination of 2+ keywords (e.g.: "United States of America" or "social psychology").
    • Use AND between two different keywords or phrases to search for articles containing both terms. (e.g.: Sumatra and tsunami).
    • Use OR between similar keywords (or synonyms) to search for articles containing either term (e.g.: teaching or pedagogy).
    Screen shot of ProQuest search page

Search Options:
Use the colored tabs near the top of the ProQuest display to switch to a different search option, if desired.
  • Basic (default): The image above shows the basic Search options. Use the text box to type in the keyword(s) or phrase that describes your topic. Use AND between separate keywords or phrases and put double quotes (") around keyword phrases.
  • Advanced: This is almost the same as the Basic Search except that it provides several search boxes to put in keywords or phrases and allows you to designate specific fields to search (e.g.: title, author, etc.) for each box. This is useful if you have a citation but, for example, the author name and title keywords are common ones (e.g.: author: Williams and text: "Iraq war").
  • Topics: Each article in the database is assigned "Subject Terms" from a controlled (limited) vocabulary, based on its content. This allows you to accurately locate articles on a topic or issue that might be described with various keywords or terms (e.g.: "pro-choice," "freedom of choice," "pro-abortion," "anti-life," etc.). You have the ability to search or browse this list and then do a search on it, combine subjects or narrow by related topic.

Limit Results:
  • Database: the default searches all ProQuest databases. However, you can limit your search to one or more sub-collections using the drop-down menu or "Select multiple databases" link.
  • Date Range: the default searches all dates, but you can limit it to a specific date range, or those added within the last week, month, year, etc.
  • Full text document only: Allows you to limit your search results to those articles that are available in full-text within the database. NOTE: this option is available on the results page and is best used there instead.
  • Scholarly journals, including peer-reviewed: Limits your search results to those articles from journals that are peer-reviewed (each article is screened and ok'd by subject experts before being published).

To view even more limit options (journal title, publication type, etc. - see image below), click on the "More Search Options" link near the bottom of the search page.
  • By Database: The default is to search all the databases within ProQuest. There are several discipline or document type specific databases that you can elect to search individually or in groups. The "ProQuest Research Library" is a general multi-disciplinary database and the ABI/INFORM databases are for business and economic topics. Click on the "Select multiple databases" link to see descriptions of each database and to select multiple ones from the list.


As you can see in the image below, the results list gives you several options - to see a specific article, click on the hyperlinked title.
Other options on the search page include:
  • Suggested Topics: if you want to do a new search based on suggested subject terms, click on one of the links in this section. This is sometimes a more accurate way to search the database.
  • # of Results: this display the number of results and what search you did. If you got no results, check your search to see if you made a spelling error or formatted things incorrectly.
  • Publication Types: the yellow and grey tabs above the results allow you to limit by publication type.
  • Show only full text: limits the results to only those available in full-text in ProQuest (**use with caution - see "Article Linker" below**).
  • Sort results by: default is to list the most recent articles first. You also have the option to sort by relevance (list the articles that most closely match your search, based on a complex mathematical formula).
  • Article Linker: if you do not see a full-text option for a specific result, click on the Article Linker icon to see if the article is available in full-text within a different database in the college's collection.
  • Navigate results: at the bottom of the set of displayed results you can changed the number displayed at once (up to 30) or move to additional sets of results if available.

Screen shot of ProQuest results page


Once in a specific article, you have several options for saving, printing and viewing it:
  • Print: reformats the article (including the full-text if available in HTML) which will allow you to select print options and send the document to your printer.
  • Email: options to send the citation, abstract and or full-text if available. You can also format the citation in MLA or APA format for compiling a bibliography.
  • Copy Link: provides a stable web address that you can copy to return to later or embed in your list of references.
  • Cite this: brings up a new browser window which displays the article in various citation styles such as APA and MLA for insertion into a list of references.
  • Mark Document: click in the check box to mark the citation for later viewing or printing. Click the "Marked List" link (in the green tab area above the article) to view all the articles you have marked. There are options there for printing (to print full-text you must use "Print" from within a specific article), email, etc.
  • ArticleLinker: if the article is not available in full-text in ProQuest, click on this icon to automatically search to see if it is available elsewhere within the library's research database collections.
  • Indexing: if you click on any of the links within the citation (author, publication title, subjects) you can generate a new search on that specific author, title, person, etc.

ProQuest citation display

For additional and more advanced search and results options, click on the "Help" hyperlink located in the top right corner of the database.

Last Updated: 9/22/05