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NSC230: Experimental Methods in Neuroscience: Search Tips

Spring 2019, M. Harrington

Search Tips

Illustration of Mice

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 dow
n searching into a three step process.

STEP 1
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 measure or analyze some behavioral tasks performed by mice, specifically C57 and 129
strains of mice, using the following kinds of tests: Barnes maze; open field test; elevated plus maze, rotarod.

STEP 2
Using the information in Step 1, list the main concepts of your topic.

EXAMPLE: mice, tests, types of behavior

STEP 3
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.

mice
mouse
transgenic mice
mutant mice
knock in mice
knock out mice
C57
Inbred C57*
129

maze

Barnes maze

open field test

elevated plus maze

rotarod
rota rod

Terms to add if needed:

memory

locomotion

anxiety

balance

 

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

(mice OR c57*) AND (barnes maze) AND memory
 

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

Mind Mapping Worksheet

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Rocco Piccinino, Science Librarian

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rpiccini@smith.edu
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