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BIOL 1113 & 1123: Principles of Biology

3. Where to Search

Why does it matter?

The library has over 200 databases, so it’s helpful to know how to choose a database more quickly. This saves you time and helps you to get less frustrated.

Choosing an appropriate database when searching can help you:

  • Find relevant research more quickly

  • Find more relevant research than you would have in another database.


What's in a Database?

Each database contains a different collection of information and different search tools. Some databases contain mostly peer-reviewed research, while others contain articles from peer-reviewed journals, newspapers, magazines, business reports, etc. Some databases also contain video or audio files.


Selecting a Database to Search

There are a few ways to choose a database to search, but here is one of the easiest ways:

  1. Go to the library homepage: 

  2. Select the Databases tab on the box in the middle of the screen.

  3. Click the Databases A-Z List link to view the full list of databases.

  4. In the All Subjects drop-down list, select the subject that matches your topic the closest. Keep in mind that some research topics may require you to look at databases for more than one subject.

  5. Regardless of which subject you chose, there should be a yellow box of “Best Bets!” These are some of the largest/best databases for research on whichever subject you chose.

  6. To figure out which database might be “best” for your topic, do a simple search in each of the “Best Bets!” databases using only the most important word or concept from your topic. Start your searching the database that gave you the most results.

Test Yourself!