Conducting Your First Search
Initially, I want you to discover what other scientific researchers have learned about your species, so you need to access the scientific databases, which contain vast numbers of scientific publications containing the results of scientific discoveries. There are numerous databases, with some more specialized than others. You may need to look in a specialized database, but let’s start by accessing one of the general scientific databases: Web of Science
To access the Web of Science database from off-campus, click here: http://oca.ucsc.edu/login. To use Off-Campus Access be sure to activate your student ID in the library. Once you’ve done this, enter the barcode # on your ID in the login page. You do not need to use off-campus access if you are on the UCSC campus.
For an overview tutorial, check out this video:
Now that you’re in a database, you need to conduct a search for articles with knowledge about your species. Let’s start with a simple search.
Web of Science – Search Examples
Don’t forget to try using Boolean operators and other techniques as shown in this training video:
What did you find? Take a quick look at the titles. Click on a title that looks promising and see if you can find “The Abstract,” which provides a brief overview of the research. If you cannot readily find the Abstract, then you may need to access the “full text” of the article. Look around the page for a link to the “full text.” (Hint: the database may use different words to describe the full text—you are looking for a link that leads you to the entire article.)
Read the abstracts of several journal article titles, then answer this question: Do these articles address some portion of your research question?
You will most likely say yes, no, or sort of. All three answers are significant, so let’s move on to the next step.