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BCH252: Biochemistry I: Biochemical Structure and Function: Search Tips

Spring 2018: B. Minsky

Search Tips

Searching By Keywords:

Whether you are searching for books in the Five College Library Catalog, or searching for scholarly articles in a library database, 
it pays to be organized as you start your search. Break down searching into a three step process.


Write down as much information about your topic as possible. Answer the following questions:

  • What is your topic?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What do you know? What don't you know?

Then, try to summarize what you are looking for in one or two sentences.

EXAMPLE: I would like to learn about the protein, antithrombin; and its role as an inhibitor or regulator of blood coagulation.  I am particularly interested in antithrombin deficiency.

Using the information in Step 1, list the main concepts of your topic.

EXAMPLE:  antithrombin, inhibitor, coagulation, deficiency

Now create a list of synonyms of your key concepts. Think broadly, think narrowly! This step is helping you expand your search
by expressing your query in a variety of ways. If you get too many results, then you can work on focusing your search.












*=wildcard; will find variations in a word. In this case, those after the letter "t." 


Add other term(s) to further narrow search









You will use the word lists you developed in Step 3 to create search strategies. Use "OR" between synonyms and "AND" between
concepts. For instance:

(antithrombin) AND (coagulat*) AND (deficiency)

 Watch video (3 minutes):  Crafting a Savvy Search Strategy (UCLA Library)

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Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Proteopedia [3-D Encyclopedia of proteins]

Wikipedia:  Provides useful background information, but be a critical user of this information.  Evaluate and verify.
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Find Encyclopedias and Dictionaries