ESSC 424W: Climate Change Library Resources

Searching Tips

1. Think about what you want to know
The first step to successfully searching is having a mindset of inquiry. Design research questions when you develop your hypothesis, design your experiment, and explain your results. 
Example: How does salinity affect rates of photosynthesis in Arabidopsis plants? 
 

2. Gather a little background info and adjust the question as needed
Go ahead, Google it! Or look for reference materials in the library.
 

3. Narrow the question or topic down to the main concepts and variables
Example: How does salinity affect rates of photosynthesis in Arabidopsis plants? 
How does salinity affect rates of photosynthesis in Arabidopsis plants? 
main concepts: salinity photosynthesis Arabidopsis
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4. Explore synonyms for your search terms.
Example:
Salinity could be described as Salt concentration, salt level. 
Arabidopsis plant
could be described as A. thaliana
 

5. Plan a search with Boolean operators and modifiers: 

Symbol Example Description 
AND (cats) AND (dogs) Adds search terms to the search, will limit the results to only articles that contain both terms. AND is usually implied, but can be used with parentheses and OR to make the search more precise.
OR (Arabidopsis OR "A. thaliana") Expands the search, a good way to add synonyms or binomial names to search terms. This example will return any article with either the word "Arabidopsis" or A. thaliana.
NOT Ash NOT tree Excludes articles that have the term. This will return results with the word "ash" but not if the results also contain the word "tree."
* bio* Signifies a truncation symbol. Will yield articles with the prefix submitted and any ending, such as: 
biology, biological, biome, biometrics, biography, biotic, biosphere, etc.
" " "breast cancer" Searches the exact phrase found in the quotes. This search will yield articles with "breast cancer," but NOT articles that only contain the word breast, or the word cancer, or contain the words separately such as cancer of the breast

Example: (salinity OR salt) AND (photosynthesis) AND (Arabidposis OR "A. thaliana") 
 

6. Enter your search in a library database
Try some of the databases listed here.  
 

7. Filter and sort your results
Try the filters (usually on the left side of database page) or sort the results by most cited, or newest. 
 

8. Open & read.
Click a pdf, if available, or use the EMU FindText+ button to locate the article from EMU's subscriptions. If the article isn't available, request it through interlibrary loan (see the box below). 

9. RE-SEARCH!
Research is a messy, iterative process. Your search will evolve as you learn more and that's great! Go back to step 1 and adapt your search strategy as you learn. 

InterLibrary Loan - Articles

ILLiad Interlibrary Loan

For articles not available online or in the library, use an online form to request it via ILLiad - more info.
Articles are usually delivered online in 3-5 days.

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