QuickSearch Advanced Searching

Open Consortium Library Website in another browser window to work through this tutorial side by side.

In this tutorial, you will learn some advanced search strategies using QuickSearch.

After completing this guide, you will be able to:

  • Refine your search using discipline and subject term filters.
  • Use QuickSearch to discover items beyond what is available locally to conduct more thorough searches on your topic.
  • Search using the advanced search screen.


Use the arrows below to navigate through the tutorial or click the Contents button in the top right to skip to any section. As you proceed you will be asked to interact with the website displayed in the frame to the right. Click on underlined words or phrases to view additional information. At the end of the guide, you may print or email a certificate of completion.


What is QuickSearch?

QuickSearch is a tool that allows you to search most of the Consortium Library's online and print resources in one place. You might think of it as Google for the library. 

It also can be used to search beyond what our library has access to.

Are you ready for advanced?

This tutorial assumes that you have experience conducting basic searches in QuickSearch. If you aren't confident in your abilities, please complete the QuickSearch Basics tutorial before proceeding here.

Where is QuickSearch?

QuickSearch is centrally located on the Consortium Library home page.

Getting Started

Let's say you want to do research on trauma experienced during or after a natural disaster.

On the Consortium Library home page to the right:

1. Type the following words into the QuickSearch search box: trauma natural disaster.

2. Hit enter or click Search.

You should now see a page of search results with your number of hits near the top.

Limiting by Discipline

Let's make our search results more manageable and relevant by reducing the number of hits.

1. Click on Peer Review in the list of filters in the left column. Click here if you don't see the left bar.

A discipline is the perspective that the authors have when approaching the topic. For example, medicine would likely look at physical trauma while psychology might look at mental or emotional trauma.

2. Click Psychology to limit to that discipline.

With each step, you will see fewer and more relevant results.

Limiting by Subject Terms

1 of 3

Let's focus our search further.

1. Click on More... under the Subject Terms filter.

screen shot of subject terms filter

You will now see an expanded list of terms in alphabetical order.

2. Click on Subject Terms to see the drop down menu and select Sort by Rank.

Subject Terms drop down menu showing Sort by Rank option

The subject terms now appear in descending order according to the number of hits.

Limiting by Subject Terms

2 of 3

Including Terms

Let's say you want to focus on post-traumatic stress disorder following a natural disaster.

1. Look through the list of subject terms. You will see many variations of post-traumatic stress disorder: "ptsd," "posttraumatic stress disorder," "stress disorders, post-traumatic - psychology," and others.

The reason you see so many is because in QuickSearch, "subject terms" are more like keywords or tags than traditional subject terms.

2. Click on as many variations of post-traumatic stress disorder as you can find in the list of subject terms. This will limit your results only to articles that have one of those specific subject terms. Once a term is selected the text will become bold.

3. Click Apply at the top.

You will again see fewer and more relevant results.

Limiting by Subject Terms

3 of 3

Excluding Terms

Just as you have included subject terms, you can also exclude them to remove all articles with that term from your search results. To do this, you would click the red x next to that term so that it appears with a strike through.

Depending on your screen size, the x may always appear or you may need to hover your mouse over the subject term for the x to appear.

Looking Beyond Our Library

Up until now you have been searching for items you have access to through our library.

Sometimes you will need to do a more thorough search, such as when you are working on a literature review. Though you won't be searching everything that has been published on your topic, you will be searching the vast majority of it.

Let's say you are working on a literature review.

1. Check the box labeled Add results beyond your library's collection near the top of the screen under the search box.

Click here if you don't see the check box.

Screenshot of "Add results beyond your library's collection"

You have increased your search results because we have included holdings beyond your library.

Interlibrary Loan

Most of your results are available instantly in full text but you may come across some that are not. If it's an article you need and you have time to wait for it, you can interlibrary loan (ILL) it.

Learn more about ILL.

If you see a citation like this one with a Citation Online link, then you would need to use ILL to get it.

Screenshot showing location of Citation Online link

In most cases for articles, clicking that link will bring you to a screen like the following one with a link at the bottom for requesting an ILL.

Screenshot showing full text isn't available with a link to ILL at the bottom

If you see something different or are confused by how to proceed, ask a librarian!

Advanced Search Screen

1 of 2

Before we wrap up this tutorial, let's look at another search tool in QuickSearch.

As with other databases and search engines, QuickSearch has an option to help advanced searchers build a more focused search on your first try.

Let's take a look at the advanced search page.

1. Depending on your screen size, you will find the link in one of two places.

You may find an Advanced link just to the right of the search box.

Screenshot of the Advanced link located next to the main search box.

Or you may find it in the 3-bar ("hamburger") Menu icon in the upper right corner.

Screen shot of the Menu icon and menu it reveals.

You are now at the advanced search screen.

In the future, you can also access this screen directly from the Consortium Library homepage by clicking the Advanced link by the QuickSearch search box.

screen shot of location of advanced search link on homepage

Advanced Search Screen

2 of 2


Explore the screen to see what your options are. Take special note of the following.

All Fields: These drop down menus help you refine your search by looking for terms only in a specific field, such as within title, abstract, or subject terms.

AND/OR/NOT (Boolean): These drop down menus help you to exclude and include search terms by defining how your search terms relate to each other. For additional explanation of how Boolean search works, see these basic and advanced tutorials. (Need the accessible versions?)

Show content type: We recommend leaving this as Any Type and using the Content Type filters on the results page when needed.

Exclude from results: This unique feature on the advanced search page is handy for omitting these common content types from your results.


You have completed the QuickSearch Advanced tutorial.

Remember, you can always get additional help from a librarian.

If you are completing this tutorial as an assignment, be sure to you request a certificate of completion on the next slide.


Please enter your name and email address to retrieve a copy of your completed quiz.

You can enter multiple email addresses separated by commas with no spaces. If you are doing this for a class, you may need to enter your instructor's email address also.