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How To - Search JSTOR: Understanding Search Results

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Quick Tips: Understanding Search Results

Search Results

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

  • Use the tabs to filter results by journal articles, ebook chapters, and pamphlets.
  • Use the sorting options to view search results by relevance, oldest items, or newest items. 
  • Use the “Display” option to view more results on a single page.
  • Change the “Show” option to “All Content” to see results across all content on JSTOR, not just the content licensed/purchased by the library.
  • Select citations from the search results and use the "Export Selected Citations" feature to email or export citations in a variety of formats.

Search Relevance

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

  • More unique terms in the text result in higher scores when searches 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 search 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."
  • More recent content is given a slight boost.