Narrowing your search

Choosing any of the databases from Credo's other library resources list, such as Academic Search Complete, will open that database for your use.


However, you are now moving from a database that specializes in broad information to a database that supplies many resources that cover a wide spectrum of specific and specialized information. As a result, the basic keyword search for "Islam" that Credo performs for you in Academic Search Complete will produce more results than you can reasonably weed through on your own.


Therefore, it will be necessary that you begin refining your results and narrowing your search. You can do this in a number of ways using the tools that database provides for you or by reading some promising articles and gathering new search terms. The second method will likely be reasonable after your exploration in a database like Credo or CQ Researcher that specializes in topic overviews. However, each database has its own language that, although very similar to other databases, may require a bit of digging to discover.


You can discover this language by using the panel on the left hand side of the page. Towards the bottom is a collapsible menu option for the "Subject." As mentioned before in other tutorials, the subject is the specific term used to describe what a sources is about. Searching for "Islam" as a keyword will bring back results for everything that mentions Islam, even if it is just in passing. However, searching the same term as a subject will bring back results only for those articles that are about Islam in some way, shape or form. However, this can still be pretty broad because, during the course of your exploration, you may find that Islam and the Muslim People make up a rich and complex topic full of history, beliefs, traditions and discrimination. You may want to research the differences between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, explore the origins of the religion through the teachings of Muhammad, outline and escribe the Pillars of Islam, examine their religious limitations on their diet and the types of food they eat, look into the differences between their actual beliefs and what other cultures perceive their beliefs to be, look into the Muslim diaspora and how the countries they emigrate to accept them, Muslim beliefs and their impact on current foreign relations, examine the controversies of extremism within the Islam faith or even look into the historical strife between Muslims and Christians through events like the Crusades among many, many other topics. A research project on Islam alone may be too broad for the amount of time and space you have but any of these more narrow, focused topics. By expanding the menu for "Subject" and electing "Show More" you will access the list of individual topics that you can find within those 25749 results.


From this list and the list of various topics mentioned earlier, you can take a social, cultural, religious, historical, biographical, political or even literary view of the topic of Islam. The more subjects you select, the smaller the selection of articles you will have. So let's say you are interested in the social aspects of Islam within the last decade as it relates to the primary religious text on the Islam faith. From the list you can select the subject terms "social aspects" and "koran" and click the green update button. Next, you can limit your results to the last 10 years by selecting the publication date slider, and sliding it over until you have a date range of 10 years prior to the current date and selecting the green update button.


Making those selection to limit your search has reduced the available results by over 25000 articles.


This indicates that you have a search for the keyword "Islam" limited to the subjects of "koran" and "social aspects" and published within the last 10 years. 667 results may still be a bit much and there are ways to limit those results.