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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses: Advanced Search

A guide to using the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database.

Advanced Search

Image showing ProQuest Dissertations & Theses' Advanced Search box.Click to enlarge image

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses' Advanced Search provides multiple search boxes for more specific keyword searching. The drop-down menus to the right of the search boxes allow you to choose a specific search field, and the default search field is "anywhere." You may limit your search more using the features beneath the search boxes. 


Image showing ProQuest Dissertations & Theses' Command Search box.Click to enlarge image

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses' Command Line Search is another feature of the Advanced Search. The Command Line Search allows you to combine terms and use specific field codes from a wider variety of options than the regular Advanced Search. Select your operator and search field, click "Add to form," then type your keywords into the box. Command Line Search also allows you to conduct multiple searches at once. 

Search Tips

  • Choose specific terms that are closely related to your research topic, including terms you might use when discussing your topic with a colleague such as jargon, synonyms, and abbreviations.
  • Limit your initial Advanced Search by search fields, peer-reviewed documents, publication date, source type, document type, and language.
  • Limit your Advanced Search results prior to searching by sorting order, number of items per page, excluding duplicated documents, and variant spellings and forms of search terms. 
  • Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase (e.g. "child development") 
  • Use Boolean operators to limit, broaden, or eliminate terms from your search:
    • AND limits search results, finding articles with both terms 
    • OR broadens results, finding articles with either term 
    • NOT eliminates terms from the results, finding articles with one term but not the other 
  • Use truncation and wildcards to broaden your search:
    • An asterisk (*) replaces multiple characters in a term, finding variant spellings and suffixes. PQDT only allows for truncation within a term (e.g. colo*r for color and colour), or at the end of a term (e.g. farm* for farm, farms, farmer, etc.); never at the beginning. 
    • A question mark (?) replaces a single character in a term, finding specific variant spellings. PQDT only allows for wildcards within a term (e.g. sm?th for smith and smyth), or at the end of a term (e.g. cat? for cat and cats); never at the beginning.
  • Use proximity operators to make a search more specific:
    • NEAR/# or N/# denotes how far apart you want your search terms to appear (e.g. nursing NEAR/3 eduction for the two terms to show up within 3 terms of each other in the search results. 
    • PRE/# or P/# denotes how far apart you want one search term to appear before a second term (e.g. nursing PRE/3 education for the term nursing to appear 3 terms before education). PRE/# is different from NEAR/# as it specifies which term you want to appear first in the search results.