By the end of this class, you should:
You will have much better results when you use the correct scientific vocabulary. Marguerite can help you improve your keyword list.
Good Quality Searching
Put phrases in quotation marks
Ex: "carbon sequestration"
Ex: "biomass fuel*"
Ex: "drosophila melanogaster"
Use truncation to grab all endings of a word
Ex: vertebrate* finds vertebrate, vertebrates, etc.
Ex: behavior* finds behavior, behaviors, behavioral, etc.
Narrow Down Your Search
This example is from a search in Academic Search Premier. Start with a simple search term or phrase.
Add search terms, using quotation marks for phrases. You'll get fewer results.
Now you have a modest number of up-to-date articles to peruse.
PubMed Central is a great database managed by the US National Library of Medicine. Here are some important things to know about PubMed:
Notice some of the useful features to click and explore when you find an article that's useful.
You can bundle the databases and search them simultaneously, which is smart, and saves you time. Here are the ones that are most likely to meet your needs when bundled together:
Here's a screenshot of a search. Be sure to select Full Text, and consider narrowing the date range.
Notice that I selected Full Text on the left. You can narrow the date range if needed, and stack your search terms in the search boxes above. This search shows multiple databases selected.
Need help with your research? Ask Marguerite or Sue.
You need to select the right tool for the right job. Different databases search for different kinds of content. In the Science Research class, it's helpful to find articles that provide you with an overview of your topic before you dive in more deeply.
HELPFUL HINTS: All Database logins and passwords are available through the Database Passwords link at the left. When using EbscoHost databases, you can select and search multiple databases simultaneously. See the graphic below to learn how.
|The Power of Review Articles: Some databases permit you to find review articles that "catch you up" on the most important research on a specific topic. These are excellent entry points for students learning about a topic.|
Human Health & Medicine
Biology, Chemistry, & More
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A Note About Google Scholar
GoogleScholar provides a patchwork of results from various sources rather than organized, consistent results. Nonetheless, for your research, it can be a handy source of review articles! GoogleScholar is a specialized search engine, and not nearly as comprehensive as the academic database PubMedCentral. Here's a comparison between the two:
• no controlled vocabulary
Where does GoogleScholar really shine? It can help you find conference papers, some review articles, dissertations, and other useful academic materials that might not be included in an academic database you're searching.
Need help? Confused? Talk to Marguerite and Sue. We'll help.
CRAP Test: Currency, Reliability, Authority, and Purpose/Point of View
The CRAP test is a useful tool for evaluating the sources you find online. Whether it's a website, a blog entry, or an article that looks official but doesn't come from an academic database, this CRAP test will help you determine whether it's worth your time. Be skeptical!