By: Anna Lee
ProQuest is a scary word. At least for me it was. “Doing research” and “finding peer-reviewed, verified sources” have always induced the same amount of stress as actually writing the paper and revising my essays. However, as I have become accustomed to university standards of writing, whatever that means, I have learned what a valuable resource ProQuest is for just about anything. ProQuest is an online archive filled with articles, dissertations, journals about nearly all subjects: it’s basically a scholarly library closest to you; just one google search away.
For most university and college students, or anyone in the academia field, ProQuest is free. Once you log in with your school ID and password, a world full of peer-reviewed and renowned journals appear at your fingertips. For most university students, a quick google search with your university name and ProQuest would yield a direct link, where you can just sign in with school ID and password.
Once logged in, it’s slightly overwhelming. There is too much information coming at you from all its disorganized angles. That’s when the search database becomes incredibly useful. On the top handle, there is a tab titled “Advanced.” When you click that, you can type select words that your research focuses on, click on the “Peer-Reviewed” button for only peer-reviewed articles, and select the source, document, and language type. You can even customize the date your source was published to get the most updated, or a historically-specific-timed piece. You can then narrow your search further by using “field codes,” which are abbreviated terminology that, once it has been typed, only brings up searches of that specific category.
Now, once you have narrowed down your search considerably, there has to be research. Research is similar to google searches that pop up, except that everything that ProQuest has in its database has sources with verified information. Unlike Google, you can find many, full PDFs that you can download with a single click. One of my favorite features of this site is that you can save your searches in your cart, like you’re shopping, and come back to it later. As a bonus for anyone who finds citing MLA or APA a nuisance, most, if not all, ProQuest sources have cite buttons with over 30 options of citations that automatically yields perfect, indented works cited. Each source also has a brief Abstract that gives the general summary of the piece.
All these features make research quite easy and enjoyable, because you aren’t clicking through endless rows of useless, fruitless, partial research and wasting your time. So search on!