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BIO351: Biology Research Seminar

General Biology and Science Databases

Multidisciplinary Databases

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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:

Search Strategy Builder

The Search Strategy Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. While it is not a database and is not designed to input a search, you should be able to cut and paste the results into most databases' search boxes.

Concept 1 and Concept 2 and Concept 3
Name your concepts here    
Search terms Search terms Search terms
List alternate terms for each concept.

These can be synonyms, or they can be specific examples of the concept.

Use single words, or "short phrases" in quotes

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

The Search Strategy Builder was developed by the University of Arizona Libraries and is used under a Creative Commons License.