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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
Biological Science Database
Full text articles from 280 biology journals, many of them peer-reviewed.
Scholarly, government and general-interest content on global warming, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more.
Full text for more than 1,000 peer-reviewed life sciences, Health Science, physical sciences, and engineering journals with citation information for thousands more. Look for the "Full-text available" indicators to view articles online. View the Science Direct handout
An online version of McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms. It contains nearly 9,000 online encyclopedia articles, terms, images and videos related to sciences and technology. The Study Center provides essay topics, study guides and bibliographies.
Gale Ebooks (formerly GVRL)
Gale eBooks has over 200 encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research. Look here for biology, chemistry, nursing and medicine, sociology, history, education, law, and more.
Academic Search Premier
Full text for more than 4,500 scholarly social sciences, humanities, general science, education and multi-cultural journals. 3,700 are peer-reviewed.
Academic OneFile (Gale)
Academic OneFile is a starting point for peer-reviewed, full-text articles from the world's leading journals and reference sources. Covering the physical sciences, technology, medicine, social sciences, the arts, theology, literature and other subjects, it contains millions of articles available in full-text. Includes full-text New York Times content from 1995 to present.
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