Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Biology 142 Spring 2021

Search Strategies:

  • Look at your question(s) - what are the key words you will use to search?
  • Now that you have your key words, write out all the possible synonyms of each word (you might even need to use the scientific name of something)
  • Take notes of what you are using to search
  • Keep track of what databases you have used

Boolean Operators

The three Boolean operators are AND, OR and NOT. Boolean Operators are used to connect your search terms. When searching electronic databases, journals, and even the online catalog, you can use Boolean operators to either narrow or broaden your search.

Also, the majority of search tools, when given a phrase, 

For example, if searching for information on abnormal human chromosomes, you could search for "Human Chromosomes" AND Abnormal.

Databases Will Give you Search Terms!

When looking for articles, there may be times where resources are limited. In cases like these, always look for articles that are relevant and their associated search terms. For example, see the article page below. Each article comes with correlated search terms that are hyperlinked.

Once you find an article you could use for research, click on an associated search term that works for you, and that will lead you to other articles with the same search terms. This can be used in any database or journal. It also works in DiscoverE (the Emory Catalog) when searching for physical book titles.


Recommended Search Terms

Brainstorming synonyms or variations on words yields a more productive search strategy.

Adjust your searches by narrowing the focus or by combining research terms. Do background reading to find more keywords. As an example, if you are researching leaf strength, some keywords to combine with leaf might include:

Leaf AND integrity; leaf AND architecture; leaf AND architecture AND membrane: leaf AND breakdown

Once you type in your search terms, use the "Refine my results" list on the left-hand side to help narrow down your search by:

  • library location
  • genre
  • topic
  • and more!