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Support - EBSCO Help

What is an unqualified search?

An "unqualified" search is a keyword search performed on an EBSCO database in which field codes to search have not been selected or specified by the user. In every EBSCO database, a pre-selected set of citation fields are configured as search fields. These pre-selected search fields vary by database, however, when performing a search in most databases, the default fields searched are:

  • Authors
  • Subjects
  • Keywords
  • Title information (including source title) 
  • Abstracts (Note: If an abstract is not available, the first 1500 characters of the HTML full text of the article are searched.)

Note: On EBSCO interfaces, database-specific online Help provides information on which default fields and/or searchable fields are available in a database. From any of the search screens, click the Database Help link and then choose Searchable Fields. All the field codes are listed with detailed explanations.Unqualified searches typically return good results, but there might be situations when you want more control over the fields searched. Doing so generally produces more specific results. Identifying fields in which to search is known as a "qualified" search. There are a few ways to create a qualified search:

  • Select specific fields on the Advanced Search Screen (Guided Style)
  • Specify field codes on the Basic Search Screen
  • Specify field codes on the Advanced Search Screen. 

To Create a Qualified Search by Selecting Field Codes on the Advanced Search Screen

Prior to beginning this procedure, ensure that your EBSCO interface has Guided-Style enabled on the Advanced Search screen. If the Guided-Style Advanced Search screen is not enabled, see your library administrator.

  1. From the Advanced Search Screen, enter your search terms in the first Find field.

  2. Choose the search field from the Select a Field drop-down list. (For example, select the Title field.)

  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for the second set of Find fields.

  4. Select a Boolean operator (AND, OR, NOT) to combine the two Find field entries.

  5. You can enter another group of search criterion (Boolean operator, keyword, and search field) in the third set of Find fields.

  6. Complete the additional options applicable to your search, and then click the Search button. The EBSCO interface returns a Result List.


Field Codes

You can use field codes to create a search using indexed fields referenced in either the citation or full display (or full text, if available). EBSCO uses two-character abbreviations for field codes such as SU-Subject, AU-Author or TI- Article_Title. Field codes are database specific.

To Create a Search by Specifying Field Codes on Either the Basic or Advanced Search Screen

  1. At the Search Screen, type one of the two-letter codes before your search terms in the Find field. For example, to search for articles that include the subject sports injuries and the term hockey, type:

    SU Sports Injuries and Hockey.  

  2. Click Search. The EBSCO interface returns a Result List.

You can configure more complex searching by specifying a mix of search terms and field codes as follows:

    environment and GE Canada and JN Local Environment

This searches for the keyword "environment" in all of the database's pre-selected search fields and locates records from the journal "Local Environment" that have the Geographic Term "Canada" listed in the citation.