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Getting Started with Research at Shapiro Library

This guide discusses understanding information sources, formulating a topic and search phrase, where and how to search the library for information, how to evaluate sources, how to cite sources, and more.

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Types of Limiters

Many databases allow users to limit their search results by certain criteria. These options are often located somewhere on the database search page or results list as drop down menus or check boxes. Some common and useful limiters include date of publication, material type, full text, and more. Here is a list of common limiters and what they mean:

Full Text 

Select this limiter to only bring back results that are available to be read online, in their entirety. This limiter would be helpful to use if you need electronic access to a material now and don't have time to wait for Interlibrary Loan or cannot get to the library to use a print material.

Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals

Select this limiter to only bring back results that are from scholarly (peer reviewed) journals. Peer reviewed journals are scholarly journals whose articles have passed through an editorial process or evaluation by experts in the field. This limiter would be helpful if you need scholarly articles for your paper or assignment.

Publication Date 

Select this limiter to only bring back results published within a certain date range. This limiter would be helpful if you need materials that were published recently (e.g. within the last 5 years)--this is commonly necessary for research in the sciences.

Material/Publication Type

Select this limiter to only bring back certain types of materials (e.g. books, journal/magazine articles, book reviews, conference papers, etc.). This limiter would be helpful if you need to use a certain type of material in your research that you have been unable to find thus far (e.g. you need to use a book, but your results keep coming back as articles).


As with any search strategy, you may want to consider what limiters are most useful for and anything you should be cautious about when using this searching technique:

Most Useful For:

  • Allows users to narrow down search results by various criteria (e.g. scholarly sources only).
  • Allows users to find results based on very specific criteria (e.g. date of publication).


  • Available limiters may vary from database to database.
  • Using too many limiters or poorly chosen limiters may bring back few or no results.

More Information

The library has several books and ebooks in our collection which can help answer your questions about using limiters. Check out the books and web resources listed in the FAQ What are limiters and how can I use them? for additional information.