Recommended Databases for Background Information
Recommended Databases for Peer Reviewed (Scholarly) Articles
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.
Zotero is a bibliographic management software-- you can organize your research articles using this software.
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.
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."