BSPM365 - Integrated Tree Health Management
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.