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LCC Library

CH 243: Organic Chemistry: Databases

LCC Library resources for CH 243.

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.  

General Database Search Tips

You are probably used to searching Google. But databases are different animals, and if you search them as if they are Google you might not find much.  Here are some quick tips:

  • Spelling counts. The databases won't correct your spelling, so if nothing comes back, maybe you just misspelled something.
     
  • Keep it simple. Search for only two or three words at a time, not whole sentences.
     
  • Some words belong together. If you are searching for articles that contain a particular phrase, like “back pain,” be sure to put quotation marks around the words you want to stay together.  Otherwise, you might get articles that don’t mention “back pain.”  Instead they mention the word go back in one part of the article and the word feeling no pain in another part of the article.
     
  • Try this wild trick. If you are using a word that has more than one different ending, like prescribe or prescription, type just the first part of the word, then put an asterisk ( * ) right next to it, like this:  prescri*   Then you’ll get articles that mention either word.  This technique is called truncation.  Just think how many words start with psych*
     
  • Use only the important words. Only use the words that most describe your topic, not other topics. For example, you wouldn't want to use the words the, an, a, or, for, of, from, to, or even effects or how.  These words could be applied to almost any topic, which is how you know they won't help.
     
  • Try, try again. If your search doesn't bring back enough results the first time, use other words that mean similar things or change the focus just slightly.
     
  • Wikipedia can help. If you're not sure what words to use, it can be a good idea to check other websites like Wikipedia or a thesaurus or an online Library encyclopedia to find words to search for in the databases. As you search the databases, you’ll find more words.
     
  • Envision your perfect article.  What words would be in the title of the article or in its summary?  A good strategy is to write down a sentence or question that describes what you want to know, such as:  Does marijuana have legitimate medical uses?


Start with the important words:  medical and marijuana, then brainstorm other synonyms or related concepts. Here are a few examples, but there are many more:


medical                  marijuana                       [related terms]
therapeutic            cannabis                         
cancer
prescription            THC                                 appetite
doctors                   
tetrahydrocannabinol        chemotherapy
dispensary               marinol                              multiple sclerosis
remedy                   pot                                  pain

                                   
Different authors describe the same thing in different ways depending on who they are writing for and the context of the article.  Each of these words and phrases in different combinations will bring back different search results.  Here are some example searches you can use in databases or even on the Web:

                    therapeutic marijuana
           therapeutic cannabi*
           medic*
tetrahydrocannabinol
           
dispens* marijuana
             
marinol thc appetite
             marijuana dispensar* pain

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