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BIOL 153 Intro to Marine Biology & BIOL 353 Marine Biology

Unlock your research superpowers! Level up your research skills and boost your success in class with expert tips, top-notch resources, and game-changing strategies.

Selecting and 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

Web of Science Tutorial

Web of Science Tutorial

Navigate the Web of Science database with our tutorial, aimed at helping you utilize its features for advanced searching. Hover your cursor over the green  arrows below to learn more about searching Web of Science Database

Web of Science Video Tutorial

ScienceDirect Tutorial

ScienceDirect Tutorial

Navigate the ScienceDirect database with our tutorial, aimed at helping you with the skills to use this database for strategic exploration. Discover how to find relevant articles and utilize its featurs for advanced searching. Hover your cursor over the green arrows below to learn more about searching the ScienceDirect database.

ScienceDirect Video Tutorial

Recommended Databases

Recommended Databases

Explore the specialized databases tailored for biology research, each offering unique insights and resources to support your academic and scientific inquiries.

See more about off campus access here

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.