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BIO351: Biology Research Seminar

Quick Help

Check out this search strategy builder from Arizona State University to help you combine terms into effective search strings.

Fill out our ILL Request form to get the full text of an article Doane does not subscribe to. You will receive the article via e-mail within a few days.

General Biology and Science Databases

Multidisciplinary Databases

Database Basics

You need to use keywords when searching for materials in library databases. Typing a whole question into a database search box will not yield as many useful results. As you search, keep track of different terms authors use when talking about your topic. Adding these to your search strategy will likely help you find more useful sources.

Most databases use what is called Boolean logic. This is a way to combine your keywords to make your searches more efficient. Boolean operators include AND (narrows your search), OR (broadens your search), and NOT (excludes terms to narrow further).

This short video from the Ronald Williams Library at Northeastern Illinois University gives an overview of the best way to search in a database:

What is Primary Literature?

PRIMARY SOURCES are publications that report the results of original research. They may be in the form of conference papers, monographic series, technical reports, theses and dissertations, or journal articles. Because they present information in its original form (that is, it has not been interpreted or condensed or otherwise “repackaged” by other writers), these are considered primary sources. The works present new thinking/discoveries/results and unite them with the existing knowledge base. Journal articles that report original research are one of the more common and important steps in the information sharing cycle. They often go through a process in which they are “peer reviewed” by other experts who evaluate the work and findings before publication.