What is the ProQuest Database Guide?

This guide will show you how to use ProQuest Central to find journal articles for your assignments. Many of the things you learn from this guide can be used in our other library databases.

You will be given search strategies, and other helpful hints, for searching ProQuest Central before starting your own searching. There is a short quiz at the end to see how well this tutorial worked for you.

Let's Begin...

Why databases?

The best way to find journal articles for your assignments is to use the library's databases.

While just Googling is quicker, you cannot always verify the accuracy of a website...or worse, you may be asked to pay $$ for limited use of an article you find online that you could be getting free from the Library!

To find ProQuest Central, and all of our other databases on our website, select Article and eBook Databases from the Research drop down menu. Then select A to Z.

You can also select Library Resources by Subject to find specific resources related to your program or coursework.

Finding ProQuest Central

You can scroll down the screen until you reach ProQuest Central.

Click here to access ProQuest Central to access the database and start your search journey.

If you are off-campus, you will need to login with your Trocaire network ID and password.

What is ProQuest Central?

ProQuest Central is a collection of databases on a variety of topics. When you open ProQuest Central you see the main search screen which searches multiple databases at the same time.

Each of the databases in ProQuest Central contains journal articles specific to that topic. Some of the databases in Trocaire's subscription of ProQuest Central include:

  • Biology Database
  • Health & Medical Collection
  • Nursing & Allied Health Database
  • Psychology Database
  • Religion Database
  • Science Database
  • Sociology Database

Searching ProQuest Central

You can choose to use the main screen and search all of the databases at the same time or you can select an individual database to make sure you are only looking at journal articles related to your subject.

To select an individual database, select Change Databases at the top of the screen. Next, uncheck the box next to ProQuest Central to deselect all databases. Click on the box next to the database(s) you wish to use. Then press Use Selected Databases at the bottom of the page.

Beginning Your Search

  • Peer reviewed and Scholarly journals are already checked in ProQuest Central. Only journal articles should appear in the results.

  • Tips to improve your search:
  • Publication Date - limit the date range for your search (3 years, 5 years)
  • Source Type - limit to the source of the information such as conferences, blogs. magazines
  • Document Type - limit to a certain type of article such as case studies, conference papers, literature reviews

    It is recommended to keep Full text unchecked because your search will show all articles available for your topic.

    If the article is not in full text, it may be available in other Trocaire databases or through Interlibrary Loan.


    You only want to use the main points of the topic as your keywords.

    Keywords are the words you enter into a database or search engine to find information on a topic.

    Keywords are critical for effective database searching. They...

    • help you focus on a topic.
    • help you focus your research.
    • eliminate extraneous articles.
    • are better for Internet searching too.

    Keyword Tips

    Now some quick search tips when using ProQuest Central or our other databases:

    • Use academic or professional language when you are conducting research in order to find the most scholarly materials on your topic.
    • Avoid unnecessary words like effect, affect, study, research or journal when searching library databases.
    • Put quotation marks around your words to search as an exact phrase
      • climate change
    • Use an asterisk to search for words with similar endings.
      • teen* would find teen, teens, teenage, teenager, teenaged.
    • Use a question mark or hashtag symbol to search for similarly spelled words at the same time
      • woman and women (wom#n, wom?n).
      • Databases tend to use the question mark; search engines the hashtag symbol.

    Search Tips

    • Use AND to combine your main keywords together. This happens automatically in search engines.
      • “Lake Erie” AND “climate change”.
    • Use OR in databases and web searching to search for two words that can be used interchangeably.
      • neonate OR infant OR newborn
    • Use NOT to eliminate a word or topic from your search. Many search engines use a minus sign (-) to eliminate words.
      • vaccines NOT autism
    Advanced Search

    Limiting your results

    Once you begin searching in ProQuest Central, you may retrieve 1,000s of articles. There are ways to lower your search results to find articles that better fit your needs.

    • Add additional keywords to your search
    • Use the date slider to see only recently published articles
    • Limit by Subject (Females, Adults) or Geography

    Abstract or Article?

    Once you find an interesting title, click on it to read the abstract.

    The abstract is a summary of the journal article. Reading it can help you decide if the article works for your research project.

    A journal article contains an abstract, plus the full article and references at the end. There are also often datasets, charts and graphs. This infographic can help you decide if you are looking at a journal article or just an abstract.

    Your instructors want full text journal articles not abstracts.

    Full Text

    There are two types of full text journal articles in ProQuest Central:

    • Articles in Full Text look like a webpage.
    • Articles in PDF Full Text look like a scan of the original article in the printed journal.
    There are several tools to help you do more with your article.

    The most commonly used tools are:

    • Download PDF
    • Cite (APA, ASA, MLA)
    • Print
    • Email
    • Save (home PC, H:drive or flash drive)

    If you choose to cite using ProQuest Central, make sure to double check your citation against a trusted resource like our Citation Help or Purdue OWL to make sure it is properly formatted.

    360 link

    If you see the 360 link, there is only an abstract available for the article in ProQuest Central.

    If you click on the link, it will search all of our other databases for the article. If the article is available in full text in another Trocaire database, you will be redirected to it.

    Interlibrary loan

    You may also be redirected to a page advising you the article is not available in our databases.

    Click on Request an Interlibrary Loan to send us a request to get the article from another college.

    Within the ILL Request Form:

    • Enter your contact information
    • Enter the year the article was published
    • Scroll down and press Submit

    Most articles are delivered to your Trocaire College email in 2 - 72 hours. If it will take longer than that, we will contact you.
    Created by: Keri Thomas-Whiteside, Information Literacy Librarian. Fall 2016