BI 101 Southeast: Article Databases

Library database searching for environmental issues

This page provides a list of library databases recommended for biology students, some tips for narrowing a topic to keep it manageable, and some database search tip strategies.

The online worksheet you will be completing in Week 2 has some video tutorials for getting started on library database research.  Here are the links to those videos again.

Brainstorming keywords (3 minutes)

Finding articles through the PCC Library (4 minutes)

Library Databases for Biology

Tips for Narrowing a Topic

If you're getting too much information and too many unrelated results, your research topic may be TOO BROAD. Here are some tips for narrowing down your topic:

  • Add in additional search terms to give your topic some context.
  • Focus on a time period.
  • Focus on a geographic region.
  • Focus on a specific population (teenagers, children, college students, etc.).
  • Limit your search to full-text articles.
  • Limit your search to articles published in scholarly and/or peer-reviewed sources.


Instead of: stress (too broad)

Try this: How have college students used meditation to help reduce stress?

Sample keyword searches:

"college students" AND meditation AND stress

"college students" AND meditation AND "stress reduction"



Search Strategy Overview

1. Use quotation marks around two or more words in a search term to locate them as an exact phrase.

2. Break up your question into separate keywords and use different boxes for each idea.

3. Brainstorm synonyms and related concepts and include them in your search using OR.

4. Use an asterisk (*) to locate root words that have different endings.

  • will bring back child, childs, children, childrens, childhood

  • will bring back meditate, meditation, meditators, meditative