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JSTOR Help: Get Started

Search in JSTOR

There are two search forms on JSTOR, a Basic Search (on the main page) and an Advanced Search

Since Norco College Library has a subscription, you'll need to log in to access all of what's available to you.


Using the Basic Search

  • Place words within quotation marks to search for exact phrases (“to be or not to be”).
  • Use Boolean operators to construct a better search (“tea trade” AND china).

Using the Advanced Search (Recommended)

  • Use the “Narrow by” options to search only articles, include/exclude book reviews, search for content published during a particular time frame, or in a particular language.
  • Focus an article search in specific disciplines and titles using checkboxes. [NOTE: discipline searching is currently only available for searching journal content. Selecting this option will exclude ebooks from the search.
  • Use the drop-down boxes to limit search terms to the title, author, abstract, or caption text.
  • Use the drop-down boxes to combine search terms using the Boolean operators, AND/OR/NOT and NEAR 5/10/25. The NEAR operator looks for the combinations of keywords within 5, 10, or 25 words places of each other. The NEAR operator only works when searching for single keyword combinations. For example, you may search for cat NEAR 5 dog, but not "domesticated cat" NEAR 5 dog.

Too many articles? Narrow Your Results!

The format and display of search results is the same for Basic and Advanced searches.

  • Use "Content Type" menu to filter results by journal articles, ebook chapters, and pamphlets.
  • Use the "Subject" menu to limit results to journals related to specific subjects.
  • Use the "Publication Date" menu to limit results to a certain publication time period.
  • Use the "Access Level" menu to limit your results by tupe of access.
  • Use the "Sort by" menu to view search results by relevance, oldest items, or newest items. 
  • Use the "Export Selected" menu to choose the export format.

More Help:

Other Important Tips!

Less is more, try to get less than 60 results per search.

Use the "refine results" in the left hand column to narrow down your results.

Use a variety of words or phrases to describe what you're looking for, but keep it simple, and don't be afraid to do multiple searches.

Find a few articles that work, and look for new words/phrases to describe what you're looking for, and search again using those new phrases or words.

Gather citations as you go. All of our databases have a cite feature somewhere on the page of each item. If you think you might use an article or some other bit of information, save the citation in either word or Google Docs for later use!

Still having problems? Ask us for help!

Search Relevance

Relevance on JSTOR is a combination of many things. Key elements include:

  • More unique terms in the corpus result in higher scores when queries contain those terms. For example, the keyword “epistemology" gets a greater boost than “university” because it is less common.

  • Phrase matches are boosted higher than just keyword matches. A query for "the quick brown fox" will assign higher relevance to a document containing the exact words "the quick brown fox" than a document containing "the brown fox is quick."

  • Publication date -> newer documents can have a slight boost