The search results page contains a lot of information, let's break that down.
Don't worry it will all make sense! There are three columns
Features of the search results page have been numbered to better describe what each bit means
Some of these options will be discussed in more detail in the Personalisation page
There are three ways of sorting results:
ProQuest uses an algorithm (a set of instructions for solving a problem or accomplishing a task) to determine what it thinks are the most relevant results to your search query, so for example if you search for 'healthy eating' (that is healthy and eating), the algorithm is likely to show articles that have the phrase "healthy eating" in the title, abstract or list of keywords, because it "thinks" that these will be most relevant to your search. It's up to you to decide that, however.
if you get too many results, the limiters in the left-hand column are a good way of reducing the numbers of results to a more manageable level. You can limit by:
You can limit your search to certain source types, such as books, scholarly articles, magazines, trades publications, etc.
You can enter a date range to narrow your search by publication date or you can click on one of the columns to see results from a particular decade
You can search for items within a particular publication
You can limit by the type of document - similar to Source Type
This can be used to limit results linked to a specific geographic location - like Ireland
Used to limit results to a specified language. Perhaps only useful if English is not your first language and you are looking for results in your first language.
There are some other limiters, but they are of limited use. You can use Companies/Organisations to limit results to those written by or about specific companies and People limits results to those that mention or about are specific people.
The best limiters are probably