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BIOL Biological Sciences Subject Guide

A guide for finding biology information to support your academic research and coursework

Search Strategies

Welcome to Find Articles – your essential hub for exploring scientific research articles. Here, you'll discover a selection of databases and strategic search tips to streamline your research.


Search Tips for Efficient Searching

Specific Keywords: Choose precise terms related to your topic, like Neuroscience, brain-machine interface, and neurodegenerative diseases

Combine Keywords: Use Boolean operators (ANDORNOT) to refine searches, e.g., Neuroscience AND (Brain-computer interface" OR "brain-machine interface") AND "neurodegenerative diseases"

Synonyms and Related Terms: Expand your search with related terms or synonyms, such as using Neurobiology AND ("brain-computer interface" OR "brain-machine interface") AND ("neurodegenerative diseases" OR "brain mapping" OR neural prosthetics")

Selecting & Using Keywords

Narrow Your Topic to Specific Keywords and Phrases

Selecting and using keywords effectively is crucial for strategic exploration in research. This section guides you through the process of developing and refining keywords to enhance the precision and breadth of your search results. 

Watch the video Selecting & Using Keywords


Explore targeted resources for your biological research needs: from comprehensive databases, specialized collections, to educational and methodological tools.

General Biological Research

Specialized Collections

Educational and Methodological Resources

Streaming Media

Free Biology Databases

Free Open-Access Science Databases

General Biology and Multidisciplinary Science

Specialized Scientific Databases

Open Access Journals and Directories

Click here for access to Free Databases by Subject

Theses and Dissertations

Locate dissertations or theses from CSULB and other institutions 


Provides free access to thousands of dissertation and thesis abstracts from universities around the world, and links to full text when freely available.

Cited Reference & Bibliographic Searching

Cited Reference Searching

Enhance your research with citation-linking tools for in-depth topic exploration. Utilize Web of Science for locating articles citing known works and discover further through the "Times Cited" feature. Expand your search with Google Scholar's citation-linking for finding articles that cite your source. Dive deeper into the citation network to connect with referenced works and authors, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of your subject area.

Watch the Videos Below to Learn How

Web of Science - How to do a Cited Reference Search

Google Scholar Citation Linking

Evaluate & Improve Search Results

Refining Your Search Results: Evaluate and Improve

This section merges critical evaluation techniques with strategies for improving your searches, guiding you towards more relevant, high-quality information. Whether you're encountering too many results or too few, the tips below will help you adjust your search to better align with your research needs. Learn how to fine-tune your search results to ensure they align closely with your research needs!

Evaluate Your Search Results:

When You Have Too Many Results:

  • Add More Specific Keywords: Narrow your search with additional, specific terms related to your topic.
  • Apply More Filters: Refine your results by using filters like publication date, material type, and subject/topic/category.

When You Have Too Few Results:

  • Reduce Keywords: Limit the number of keywords to broaden your search scope.
  • Use Less Specific Keywords: General terms can help uncover more results.
  • Try Different Databases: Different platforms may offer varied results based on their collection scope.
  • Adjust Boolean Operators: Utilize more "OR" operators between synonyms to include a wider range of terms and fewer "AND" operators to avoid overly restricting your search.


When You Have Too Many Results

When You Have Too Few Results

To reduce the number of results you are getting:

  • Add additional keywords to your search
  • Use more specific keyword to describe the topic
  • Apply Filters:
    • Publication Date 
    • Material Type
    • Subject, Topic, Category Filters 

To increase the number of results you are getting:

  • Reduce the the number of keywords
  • Use less specific keywords to describe the topic
  • Try a different database
  • Use more OR operators between synonyms  
  • Use fewer AND's between keywords 


Improve Your Search Results:

  • Revisit Keywords and Parameters: Analyze your initial search results. If necessary, refine your approach by incorporating additional, more precise keywords.
  • Leverage Author-Supplied Keywords: Review keywords provided by authors in relevant articles to discover new search terms.
  • Consider Controlled Vocabulary: Use standardized terms from controlled vocabularies (e.g., MeSH in PubMed) to target your search more effectively.

Get the Full-text

Get the Full-Text of Articles

Finding the full text of articles is an essential step in your research journey. Here you will see strategies and tools to access the full-text of the articles you need in you research process.

1) GetIt@CSULB Link

2) Find the pdf linked in the database

3) Request Article(s)

When the full-text of an article isn't available in OneSearch, click 'GET IT' for options. CSU+ is your primary choice for accessing items not held by CSULB. For articles beyond our collection, use the provided link to request them through Interlibrary Loan services, ensuring a straightforward process to obtain the resources you need. Learn more about the interlibrary loan services here.