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  • Philosopher's Index Tipsheet

Drew University Library

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To identify what has been written on a topic within philosophy and ethics, Philosopher's Index is a core database.  It. indexes and provides abstracts of scholarly material within the discipline, somewhat broadly defined.

Getting Started:

You can begin with a keyword search, like the one below, which will help you identify appropriate material:

  • * = a truncation symbol, which retrieves items with words that start with the letters preceding the asterisk: feminist, feminism or feminisms.
  • " " = = a phrase search, with retrieves items with the exact phrase enclosed in quotation marks: "African American".

Narrowing Searches:

You can restrict your search to journals or to books:


To limit your results by subject, so that the topic selected will be the main point of the item, look for the limit on the left-hand column on the screen:


Selecting specific
headings will narrow
your search by looking
for those headings
within the results
originally found.

Use the subject headings assigned to relevant articles to suggest other terms to search, which may refocus or broaden your search:

Combining Searches:

You can combine searches two ways:

  • Add search boxes to the Advanced Search:
  • Go to "Search history":

This is most useful when you have been working in a database doing multiple searches.  After clicking on "Search History," select the searches that you wish to combine.

Dealing with Results:

When you have sources that might be useful, you'll need to actually look at them!  Sometimes the source is available in Philosopher's Index, indicated by a "Linked Full Text," PDF or HTML link in the record.  If it is not available within Philosopher's Index, click on the Article Linker button: .  This will open a window which will tell you if the item is available elsewhere.  If the item you need is a book, click on "Search the catalog by journal title" (a little counter-intuitive!):


  • Call (973-408-3588) or come to the Reference Desk in the Library (9:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday; 6:00pm-10pm, Sunday-Thursday).
  • Send us an email at
  • Live chat from Research Resources when the Reference Desk is staffed or text us at 973-440-8LIB (973-440-8542)  

This guide revised 8/23/10.

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