The Library is Your Friend

After you have a better understanding of your topic it is time to leave Google behind and dive into the library databases. Databases searching usually isn't as straight forward as with Google, but they offer you more control over your search and provide you with more relevant information.

Remember to look for the FindIt Button to access articles button when searching the library website, databases, or Google Scholar to help you get to the full-text of articles. 

Finding Articles - Databases

Search these databases for microbiology, immunology, and pathology journal articles.  For a complete list of databases, see Find Electronic Resources & Databases.

Database Searching Tips

Database searching is different from Google searching.

  • Break your topic into key words or phrases
    • Combine with AND to get fewer results (soil AND worms)
    • Combine with OR to get more results (soil OR dirt)
  • Try different searches using a different combination of your words and phrases
  • As you skim your results look for new words, phrases, and ideas that relate to your topic
  • Keep trying! Searching often takes time and requires trying multiple searches in a few different databases
  • Ask for help

When searching in databases you can use limits (normally on the left or right of your search results page) to focus on specific formats, publication years, etc.

Searching Library Databases

Science literature is always changing. Looking at older articles can help you get an understanding of what you are interested in, and learn about the history. Make sure to look for recent articles to get the most up-to-date information. You can limit your search results by date in almost all databases.

1.  Think about your search strategy.  This will save you time in the long run.  Break your topic into concepts and keywords.

Example: If you are interested in gene silencing uses in tomatoes, break that into concepts and think of different ways to express those concepts (synonyms, scientific names, etc.):


2. Use Database language to search.

Boolean logic (AND, OR, NOT) and other database search "language" can allow you to have more control over your search. See the table below for the most common "tricks" that work in most databases.

Most databases also have a help section to explain how to best search in that particular database. Look for that.


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