Rutgers University Libraries ERIC Searching - Combining Terms

Sample Topic: "How education has been used to promote nationalism in the U.S."

1. When you go to the ERIC database and enter a search term, the Rutgers Libraries version of ERIC looks for possible subject thesaurus terms.

2. In this case, the term you entered, "educational history," is an 'official' ERIC subject term. The term displays in blue and is already checked in the "Select" column. Click the "Continue" button to search this term as a subject heading.

3. There are 14,170 citations in ERIC that have been assigned the subject heading "Educational History." You can now enter your second search term, "nationalism."

4. "Nationalism" is also an ERIC subject heading. If you want to make sure that citations with the word "nationalism" get selected even if they haven't been assigned that term as a subject heading (for example, the word only appears in the article title, or in the abstract), you can also select "nationalism" as a keyword.

5. Every time that you enter a search term into ERIC, that search is assigned a set number. In this search, "Educational History" is set #1 and "nationalism" is set #2. To look for citations where both of these concepts appear you need to combine these sets. You can do that by entering the set numbers separated by an and. So in this case you would enter 1 and 2.

6. There are 102 citations that have been assigned the subject heading "Educational History" and also contain a reference to "nationalism." To further focus your results, you can enter "united states" as your next search term.

7. Since there is no ERIC thesaurus term that is a satisfactory match, you can just select "united states" as a keyword.

8. Now combine set #3 ("Educational History" and "nationalism") with set #4 ("united states").

9. There are 24 citations that meet your search criteria. Click on the "Display" button to view the citations in set #5.

Natalie Borisovets (
John Cotton Dana Library
May 27, 2005