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Biology 141 Fall 2023

This guide is intended to help students in Biology 141 at Oxford.

Search Strategies

  • Look at your question(s) - what are the keywords you will use to search?
  • Now that you have your keywords, write out some possible synonyms of each word (consider using scientific names, different spellings, etc)
  • Take notes of what you are using to search
  • Keep track of what databases you have used

For example, if you are searching for information on MICROBES, you might also want to look for:

  • SOIL

Adjust your searches by narrowing the focus or by combining research terms.

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:

  • format
  • subject
  • publication date
  • and more!

Boolean Operators

In many databases, you can use a wildcard character to retrieve results of all words that start with the letters before the wildcard. Often, this character is *.


So when searching for "pollinat*", you will get results for: pollination, pollinators, and pollinating.


Boolean Operator Infographic

Created by the University of Wisconsin Whitewater.

Databases Will Give you Search Terms!

When looking for articles, there may be times where you don't get many results. In cases like these, look at articles that are most relevant to your work and identify their associated search terms.

For an example, see the article page below. Many articles have related subject terms that are hyperlinked. If you click on these hyperlinked subject terms, the database will show you all articles tagged with that same subject term!

This search term technique can be used in many databases and journal websites. It also works in Library Search (the Emory Catalog) when searching for physical book titles.