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LCC Library

Scientific Articles: Searching Library Databases

This guide will help you find journal articles that report scientific findings.

Finding Articles Using LCC Library Databases

To find articles, including articles from peer-reviewed journals, your best bet will be to search using LCC's EBSCO databases.  To find the search blank, start at the Library's main webpage and click on the “Find Articles & Databases" link:

Click on the "Find Articles and Databases" link

Database searching is different than searching Google.  For example, in Google, you can type in a whole sentence or more and expect to get useful results. The databases function better when you use just 2 or 3 words or phrases.

If I want to find articles that mention both flame retardants and something about toxicity, my search might look something like this (Hot Tips are in the red boxes):

I search the EBSCO databases for toxic* "flame retardant"
If you're off campus, you'll need to sign in using your L# and LCC passphrase.

Then use the options under "Refine Results" on the left to better target your search:

Narrow your date range. You probably don't want articles more than 10 years old.

For example, you may want to specify that you only want articles from a certain date range. For scientific and technical topics, you probably don't want articles that are more that 5 to 10 years old.

Under Source Types, click on Academic Journals. Or you may want to click on "Academic Journals" so that you don't encounter a lot of book reviews.

Narrow your search by clicking on relevant subject headings.

There may be other ways to save you time.  For example, under "Subjects," you can click on the checkbox next to "fireproofing agents" then hit the "Update" button to throw out any articles that aren't entirely about that concept. After all, you don't want articles that just happen to mention what you're looking for.  You want the whole article to be about that! 

Click on "Show More" for other useful subjects, such as "Bioaccumulation" or "endocrine disruptors." Click on more than one subject term at a time in different combinations.  

Advanced Database Searching

Advanced Searching

One trick that you can use to find scientific articles quickly is to click on "Advanced Search" and add the words method* and result* to your search. For example, I performed the following advanced search and got over 500 high-quality articles:

advanced database searching

  • Find articles that have either the phrase "climate change" OR the phrase "global warming" somewhere in the citation or abstract of the article. (The citation means the title of the article, the name of the journal, the author, and the subject headings of the article. The abstract is like a short summary of the article.)
  • The article also must have either "tree ring," "tree rings," OR a word beginning with the letters dendrochronolog-- (ie dendrochronology, dendrochronological, etc.) somewhere in the citation or abstract.
  • Also, within the body of the article (that's why I changed the "Select a Field" option to "TX All Text"), there must be a word beginning with the letters method-- (ie method, methods, methodology, etc.). 
  • It also must include a word beginning with the letters result-- (ie result, results, resulting, etc.) within the body of the article.


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