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BIO3990: Honors Literature Seminar: Finding Articles

Using Databases to Find Research Articles

When conducting your literature review, you should try to find as much information about previous research on your topic, as possible. 

One of the best places to look for articles is on the Library’s Find Articles or Databases tabs.  Databases range from general to subject-specific, can be used from off campus, and many offer full-text access to articles.

If your topic covers more than one subject or if a single database doesn't give you what you need, you'll want to search more than one database to get the full picture.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a familiar interface for searching, but is not always the best place to begin.  After you've searched other databases, and have pinned down the best keywords, Google Scholar might help you find additional resources.

Use the Advanced features to start your search, or simply copy and paste a search string from Scopus or ScienceDirect, right into Google Scholar!


Biology Databasess

Finding research-based, scholarly articles and studies requires special tools.  Finding quality resources with Google isn't as easy as it might seem.  That's why the Cheng Library offers a variety of subject-specific databases to help you find just the right materials for your papers, projects, and presentations. 

The following databases are good starting points for Biology research.  The contents of each are different (with some overlap) so it's always a good idea to check in multiple databases to ensure that you find all relevant information.

Look farther down the page to see other helpful databases!

More Biology-related Databases

This is a more comprehensive list of databases, selected by your subject librarian, to find additional resources on topics dealing with Biology and related areas.  Some of these databases are book searches, while most can be used to find research articles on a variety of topics.

Scholarly v. Popular

When conducting research, you will usually be asked to find Scholarly Articles, or artices from a Scholarly Journal, rather than popular sources (like magazines and newspapers).

Not sure what the difference is between scholarly and popular?  Check out this short tutorial: Scholarly v. Popular

Is It Scholarly?

How can you tell if you've found a scholarly article?

Some of our databases allow you to limit your results to Scholarly or Peer-Reviewed (possibly Refereed) articles.  In some cases, this isn’t so clear.  You can either check with your professor or a librarian, or you can search for the journal name in Ulrichsweb (under Articles & Databases, on the Library homepage). 

Once you’ve found the name of the journal you’re looking for, look for a small referee’s shirt icon (), to the left of the title.  This indicates that there is scholarly (peer-reviewed, refereed…) value to the articles in this title.