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Basic Searching

This help information describes how to perform a basic search. You may also perform an advanced search. If you have particular keywords, author's names, or titles in mind, you can search JSTOR®.

You may also browse the collection one issue at a time to find a citation or article. Browsing can be useful if the context of an article is important, or if you would like to skim other articles surrounding a particular article or issue.


What Is Being Searched

The JSTOR archive contains the full text of scholarly journals, beginning with the very first issue of each title. There is a gap, typically from 1 to 5 years, between the most recently published journal issue and the content available through JSTOR. You may choose to search the full text (every word) in any or all of the disciplines presented on the search page.When searching full-text, your search terms are compared with every word in the body of the articles as well as the citation information (e.g., author, title). You may also choose more narrowly-defined searches where only the author, title, or abstract field is searched

In addition to the full text available in the JSTOR archive, you are also able to search and browse the metadata (title, author, and abstract) for more recent issues of select titles. For these titles, direct links to the full text articles available at other online resources will be provided. In order for users to access the full text of the linked articles, they must have a subscription to the other resource, either through their library or individually. To learn more about this, including which titles have the links, see our Links to Recent Content informational page.

NOTE: When searching the abstract field, remember that roughly 10% of articles in the JSTOR collection include abstracts.


How to Enter a Search

JSTOR allows you to use keywords to search the collection. You may combine keywords using the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NEAR. When you combine keywords with "AND" in a full-text search, you find all instances in which both keywords appear in the same article. Using "OR" between keywords allows to you find all articles which contain either keyword. Searches using "NEAR" finds instances when the keywords occur within 10 words (a typical sentence) or 25 words (paragraph) of each other.

  1. Here Is a Sample Search:

     

    OR

    1. ENTER SEARCH TERMS:       What content will be searched?   What content will be searched?
    TIP: See drop-down menus for more options.
      in

    in

    in

    in

    Clicking the Search button submits the search. The Reset Search Form button clears the search form, allowing you to start again.

     

  2. Changing Default Search Options

    The default options in the search form can be changed by selecting the desired option from the drop down menu. For example, the previous search can easily be changed to:

    OR

    1. ENTER SEARCH TERMS:       What content will be searched?   What content will be searched?
    TIP: See drop-down menus for more options.
      in

    in

    in

    in


  3. Searching for Plurals

    JSTOR allows you to search for the singular and plural form of a word at the same time, by adding a + to the end of the singular form of the word. The search engine:

    Adds s and es where applicable. Searching on

    cat+ will find cat and cats;
    box+ will find box and boxes.

    Doubles s and z before adding es. Searching on

    bus+ will find bus and busses;
    quiz+ will find quiz and quizzes.

    Changes y to i and f to v before adding es. Searching on

    sky+ will find sky and skies;
    knife+ will find knife and knives.

    The search engine does NOT handle rules for plurals in foreign languages such as Latin, Greek, French, Italian, etc. Therefore, it will NOT find the plurals of words such as hippopotamus (hippopotami) or vertex (vertices).

  4. Searching for a Phrase

    Multiple words on the same line are interpreted as a phrase. This search finds all articles that include the phrase "pork barrel":

    OR

    1. ENTER SEARCH TERMS:       What content will be searched?   What content will be searched?
    TIP: See drop-down menus for more options.
      in

    in

    in

    in

  5. Searching for an Author

    To find all instances of an author's name using the author field, with or without the author's middle name or initial, enter an author's first name and last name on the same line, and select the author field. The search will find the author's name without a middle name or initial, and will also find the author's name with any middle name or initial. If you search using the author's middle name or initial, the search results will only include the author's name with the middle name or initial.

  6. Combining Keyword Searches

    You can combine keyword searches with full-text, author, title, or abstract fields. This search finds articles in which "liberty" appears within full-text, and "Patrick Henry" appears within the author field.

     

    OR

    1. ENTER SEARCH TERMS:       What content will be searched?   What content will be searched?
    TIP: See drop-down menus for more options.
      in

    in

    in

    in

  7. Using the NEAR Connector

    In order to perform a NEAR search, the selected field types must be the same. You cannot use the connector NEAR to combine a search term from one type of field with a search term from another type of field. For example, if you changed the connector in the above search from AND to NEAR, you would get an error message.


Limiting Searches

While it is possible to search every page in the collection, most users will find the appropriate search results much more quickly if they limit the scope of their search.

  1. Limiting Searches by Journal

    A particular journal or set of journals must be designated in your search. (Leaving this option empty will result in notice to "Select one or more journals"):

    2. SELECT DISCIPLINES/JOURNALS TO SEARCH (required):
    to search specific journals:
    Ecology
    Economics
    History
    Political Science

    Choosing "Expand the list" will allow you to select specific journal titles to search. For example, it is possible to search only in The American Economic Review and The Journal of Economic Perspectives.


  2. Limiting by Type of Article

    The default setting is to search all full length articles:

    3. LIMIT YOUR SEARCH (optional):
    • Limit by Type:
      articles   reviews   opinion pieces   other items  
      TIP: "Other items" may include announcements, bibliographies, or other non-research related items.

    • Limit by Date Range:
      between: and:
      TIP: Specify dates as yyyy, yyyy/mm or yyyy/mm/dd.

    • Limit by Content Availability:
      All Content   Full Text Only  
      TIP: "All Content" includes full text JSTOR articles and, for some titles, citations and links for articles not contained in JSTOR.   What is "All Content"?

    • Sort Results:

    However, it is also possible to search for a different type of item, such as book reviews. You may select multiple types:

    3. LIMIT YOUR SEARCH (optional):
    • Limit by Type:
      articles   reviews   opinion pieces   other items  
      TIP: "Other items" may include announcements, bibliographies, or other non-research related items.

    • Limit by Date Range:
      between: and:
      TIP: Specify dates as yyyy, yyyy/mm or yyyy/mm/dd.

    • Limit by Content Availability:
      All Content   Full Text Only  
      TIP: "All Content" includes full text JSTOR articles and, for some titles, citations and links for articles not contained in JSTOR.   What is "All Content"?

    • Sort Results:

     

  3. Limiting Searches by Date Range

    To search only for articles within a certain range of dates, enter a date range:

    3. LIMIT YOUR SEARCH (optional):
    • Limit by Type:
      articles   reviews   opinion pieces   other items  
      TIP: "Other items" may include announcements, bibliographies, or other non-research related items.

    • Limit by Date Range:
      between: and:
      TIP: Specify dates as yyyy, yyyy/mm or yyyy/mm/dd.

    • Limit by Content Availability:
      All Content   Full Text Only  
      TIP: "All Content" includes full text JSTOR articles and, for some titles, citations and links for articles not contained in JSTOR.   What is "All Content"?

    • Sort Results:

    This search would find all articles published between September 1, 1939 and August 1, 1945.

    However, searching:

    3. LIMIT YOUR SEARCH (optional):
    • Limit by Type:
      articles   reviews   opinion pieces   other items  
      TIP: "Other items" may include announcements, bibliographies, or other non-research related items.

    • Limit by Date Range:
      between: and:
      TIP: Specify dates as yyyy, yyyy/mm or yyyy/mm/dd.

    • Limit by Content Availability:
      All Content   Full Text Only  
      TIP: "All Content" includes full text JSTOR articles and, for some titles, citations and links for articles not contained in JSTOR.   What is "All Content"?

    • Sort Results:
    would find all articles published from the beginning of 1939 through the end of 1945.

    If a date range is not selected, the entire range of dates will be searched. If the first date field is entered and the second date field is left blank, the search will be done from the first date to the most recent issue.

  4. Limit by Content Availability

    For some titles, the citation information (author, title, abstract) of the recent articles is searchable through JSTOR. The full text of these articles may be accessed via direct links from JSTOR to other online resources. Access to the full text articles may be restricted. You may be authorized to access the article if you or your institution has a subscription to the resource.

    The default is to search all content, both full text articles in JSTOR and the citation information for the more recent articles for a smaller group of titles. To learn more about this, including which titles have the links, see our Links to Recent Content informational page. If you choose to limit your search to include only the full text articles available at JSTOR, you should select "Full Text Only":

    3. LIMIT YOUR SEARCH (optional):
    • Limit by Type:
      articles   reviews   opinion pieces   other items  
      TIP: "Other items" may include announcements, bibliographies, or other non-research related items.

    • Limit by Date Range:
      between: and:
      TIP: Specify dates as yyyy, yyyy/mm or yyyy/mm/dd.

    • Limit by Content Availability:
      All Content   Full Text Only  
      TIP: "All Content" includes full text JSTOR articles and, for some titles, citations and links for articles not contained in JSTOR.   What is "All Content"?

    • Sort Results:

How Your Search Results Are Displayed

Your search results are scored according to how many times your search terms appear and how close your terms appear to the beginning of the article. You may also choose to view your search results in ascending or descending chronological order.

Each page that shows your search results includes up to 10 citations. If your search yields more than 10 citations, you can view other search results pages by choosing their number at the bottom of the search results page. The second search results page includes citations 11-20, search results page 3 includes citations 21-30, etc.

If your search yields more than 200 results, you will be prompted to refine your search, in order to save processing time and better help you find relevant articles. You may still choose to view these citations, however, if you so wish.


Finding Your Search Terms in a Retrieved Article

The citations of search results are displayed with choices for you to select:

Citation / Abstract | Page of First Match | Print | Download | Save Citation

or

Citation / Abstract | First Match is in the Citation | Print | Download | Save Citation

"First match" refers to the first occurrence of one of your search terms. If you entered more than one term, it may be any of the terms that were entered. If the word is found in the title or author's name, your results will indicate that the "First Match is in the Citation."

If you perform a full-text search, you may move from the "page of first match" to other pages within the same article where your full-text search terms may appear. Again, it may be any of the search terms that were entered into the full-text field of the search form. When you view a page of an article that was included in your search results, a list of hypertext links appears at the top of the page. These numbers are links to the pages on which at least one of your search terms may be found. You may select any page in this list to follow the occurrences of your search terms throughout the article.

Example:

At least one of your search terms appears on each of the following pages:
479 | 480 | 482

If a search term is entered in the title or author field, these links do not appear. A title search is satisfied when a specific article is found; an author search when the article or articles by that individual are retrieved.

NOTE: For technical reasons, if search terms appear on page 63 or beyond, these pages cannot be individually identified. When this is the case, the phrase "and in pp. 63ff." signifies that one or more search terms may be found on pages 63 or following.


Search Strategies and Tips

Since neither stemming nor truncation is currently implemented (with the exception of plurals, see Searching for Plurals), the search engine is extremely literal. Therefore, you must search "region or regional" to find variants of the stem "region". Also, use variant spelling of words (e.g., "labor" or "labour") and also try spelling out acronyms (e.g., "NATO" or "North Atlantic Treaty Organization"). For keyword searches, use synonyms: (e.g., "regions or locales or areas").

What to do if you get too many hits

What to do if you get too few hits


Last updated January 07, 2001.


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