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Biology: Journal articles and research databases

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Would you like to learn more about databases and network literacy? 

When to use a citation index

Articles that cite your article can be relevant to your research. Discover how a known idea or innovation has been confirmed, applied, improved, extended, or corrected.  Databases that include citation searching: 

What is a research database?

A database is a collection of digital that have been catalogued and professionally curated to a set of standards and peer-review. Note that Google Scholar for example, is NOT a research database; it is actually a web search engine.

Three common types of research databases, are

  • bibliographic databases, such as the library catalogue;
  • abstract databases (or citation indexes), such as Scopus or Web of Science;
  • and full-text databases, like Medline or Embase. 

The most common digital items in databases are journal articles, however databases can also be dedicated to theses, patents, and more. Databases are powerful research tools for accessing indexed journal articles and publications from scholars, professionals, and field experts. Choosing the correct database for your search is important, as a database can cover a wide variety of topics from psychology, education, clinical medicine, and more.

Popular research databases

Explore special topics for expanded coverage and specialized databases and resources. 

Tips for improving your literature search

  • Do the literature search before performing the research, and certainly before writing the paper.
  • Do a citation search. You can look for potentially relevant and interesting articles by scanning through reference lists and blibliographies, many of which will now be directly linked to those articles.
  • Don't be afraid to look in fields outside your discipline - try different search keywords
  • Document each promising paper.  Do not rely on your memory alone.
  • Search by publication date and scan over articles in press. By searching for the most recently published content on your subject, you can ensure that your manuscript captures the latest communal knowledge in the field.

Source: How to Write a Good Scientific Paper (2018). C.A. Mack. Link below.

Need More Help? Connect with me

For help with customized literature searches, using boolean logic, formatting research posters and media, critical appraisal and reading scientific literature, and lots more, connect with me online. E-mail me or Book a virtual meeting with me on Microsoft Teams.

Brie McConnell, MLIS

Liaison Librarian