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BIOL 210 - Prof. Stinson  

Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Recommended Databases for Background Information

  • AccessScience
    Provides access to articles and illustrations, from the latest edition of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology, includes research updates from the McGraw-Hill Yearbooks, and the latest Science News headlines, biographies, and more.
  • Today's Science
    Today's Science includes information on the latest developments in science with background information, useful Internet resources and search terms, and suggestions for further reading.
  • Credo Reference
    An online reference library that provides access to hundreds of full text titles covering everything from accounting to zoology.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library
    Includes a collection of specialized electronic reference books for multidisciplinary research.

Recommended Databases for Scientific (Research) Articles

  • PLOS Biology
    Published by the Public Library of Science, an open access, peer-reviewed journal; features works in all areas of biological science.
  • Academic Search Premier
    A multidiscipline full text database designed specifically for academic institutions. Includes full text articles from over 4,600 scholarly publications, along with 3,900 peer-reviewed journals
    Archive of scholarly journal articles. Content spans many disciplines, primarily in the humanities, social sciences and life sciences.
  • BioMed Central
    BioMed Central publishes over 290 quality peer-reviewed journals in Biology, Clinical Medicine and Health.
    Created by the National Library of Medicine, provides authoritative medical information on medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, pre-clinical sciences, and much more. Can't log in? Try using PubMed.
  • GreenFILE
    Covers all aspects of human impact on the environment. Its collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles includes content on global warming, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more. The database provides Open Access full text for more than 4,700 records.

Helpful Search Tips

Advanced Search! When possible, use advanced search. These types of searches will generally help you craft a better, more specific search strategy.

Subject Searching: Find an article that you like? Look for "Subject Terms." Most databases will let you click on subjects, and will return all articles that have been labeled as that subject. You can also use subject terms when crafting your search strategy.

Remember! You don't always get the best results when you do your first search. Look for other possible keywords when browsing through articles, or look up similar words in a dictionary or thesaurus. Research is a process where you keep building on what you have learned before.


Need Help?

Visit us at the Reference Desk! Librarians are availabe all hours that the library is open.


Phone: (619) 421-6700 x5381

Chat 24/7! Get online help from a librarian 24 hours a day.


Search Strategies

A search strategy is what keywords and Boolean Operators you use when searching in a database. For example when searching for articles to answer the question, "What impact has climate change had on birds in California?", a possible search is: 

"climate change" AND birds AND California

Boolean Operators are connector words that can help you narrow or broaden a search.

AND: Narrows a search by requiring all words to be included in a search. Generally you use this with two different concepts, e.g. texting AND driving.

OR: Broadens a search by returning results for one keyword or the other. Generally you use this with two alike concepts e.g. car OR automobile OR vehicle.

NOT: Narrows a search by removing results with the keyword used after "not." An example would be a search for windows NOT Microsoft.

Other search punctuation:

" " (Quotation Marks): Use quotation marks around a phrase that you want to search for, e.g. "animal behavior"

* (Astrisk): Use an astrisk (*) when you want to search for different tenses / forms of a concept, e.g. evol* to search for evolve, evolution, evolutionary. This concept is called "truncation." 


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