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PH 403: Thesis

Recommended Databases for PH 403

Use the databases below to find citations for peer-reviewed articles the areas in which PH 403 projects are happening. Note, that some of these databases are outside of "traditional" physics research areas. If you are just starting your research use these databases after you have explored broadly in Google Scholar and have a variety of search terms and discipline-specific vocabulary that you want to try.

You may also find publisher websites useful when trying to locate specific articles. One such site heavily used by the OSU Physics department is the American Physical Society (APS) publisher site. APS publishes the Physical Review journals among others. Another physics publisher, the American Institute of Physics (AIP), makes its journals available the via the Scitation platform.

Boolean Logic

To search for a phrase, enter quotation marks around your search terms, e.g., “climate change”.

To search for any specified words or phrases, enter OR (all in upper case) between the words or phrases, e.g. genealogy OR lineage.

To exclude words or phrases, enter NOT (all in upper case) followed by the word or phrase to exclude, e.g. silver NOT gold.

To group terms within a search, use parentheses around the terms, e.g. Shakespeare (tragedy OR sonnet).

Truncation or Wildcards

To perform a single-character wildcard search, enter a ? in place of the character position that has more than one possibility, e.g. wom?n to search for woman, women, etc.

To perform a multiple character wildcard search, enter a * in place of the characters that have multiple possibilities, e.g. cultur* to search for culture, cultural, culturally, etc.

Manipulating Search Results

Search results can be managed by using database features such as limiters and facets that allow you to manipulate your results by major subjects, date, publication type, authors, journal titles or institutions or the number of times the publication was cited by other researchers

Citation Searching

There are two different kinds of citation searching: 

  • cited references (searching/browsing the references listed in a particular article - going backward through the literature)
  • citing references (searching/browsing newer references that cite an older article - going forward through the literature)

To browse citing references, look for tabs or links like "Times Cited" (Web of Science), Cited by" (Google Scholar), "Get Citing" (SciFinder Scholar), "Citations:  From References or From Reviews" (MathSciNet), "Citing Articles" (American Physical Society)

Web of Science has a Cited Reference Search option which allows you to search for articles that cite a particular author or article.

Finding the full text of an article

 Look for the 360 link to full text button to open the full article.

Options for getting to the PDF will open in a new window. Sometimes the link will take you to the journal, not the individual article. Use the citation information for the article to get to the right year, volume and issue of the journal.

If the library doesn't have it, request the article for free from Interlibrary Loan: https://library.oregonstate.edu/ill

Topic Search Alerts

Many databases (including Google Scholar) let you save search alerts.  This can be helpful if you are researching a topic and want to know when new research comes out on the topic without having to go search in the database.  Once you set up an alert, it is generated automatically through either email or RSS feed. 

To set up an alert:

  1. Go to your database of choice
  2. Enter your search terms
  3. Look for an option to create an alert on the search results page.  You will be walked through the process of setting up an alert.  In most databases, you need an account to save a search alert.  Below are two photo examples of how to set up alerts using a database and Google Scholar.

screenshot of how to create an alert using a database of choice

screenshot of how to create an alert using Google Scholar