Stay Informed

Stay Informed is a series of hints, tips, guides and recommendations written by the Library Staff to help make using the library easier and more enjoyable.

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EBSCO v ProQuest – Part 1

Students often ask me which database is the one to use when beginning research for an assignment. This led me to consider the differences between EBSCO and ProQuest. I decided to compare them in a 2-part post to help you chose which database is right for your research needs.

Appearance

I find that both databases are similar in terms of style. EBSCO makes smart use of the space provided on the default advanced search page. The list of options does not make the page appear cluttered and it is possible to refine your search by publication date with two clicks. One big benefit that I must point out is the ability to limit your results to [PDF full text]. This is a big help in terms of relevant search results.

ProQuest also has a clean layout on the default advanced search page. Unlike EBSCO, ProQuest provides much more in terms of outright search options with choices such as [document type], [language] and [refine results by relevance or publication date]. While this means that you will need to scroll down the page, it lets you have more outright control over search results. The downside of all these search options is the lack of a limit by PDF full text option which I feel is a big omission.

Content

In a comparison between EBSCO and ProQuest in terms of academic content, EBSCO wins quite convincingly. Using the most recent top ten journals in management by impact factor as a guide, EBSCO provides access to nine while ProQuest provides access to five. Comparing the common results between the two also highlights that EBSCO provides a wider range of access in every case. ProQuest does provide exclusive access to MIT Sloan but EBSCO provides exclusive access to Harvard Business Review.

The one major plus that ProQuest brings to the table is the 30,000 full-text dissertations. These are valuable in terms of gaining access to high quality academic standard research and bibliographies on a range of areas such as leadership and innovation. EBSCO cannot match this as they do not provide the same feature.

Part 2 of this blog post will compare search results and offer a conclusion on which database I favour and why.