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BRR 100: Great Experiments in Bioresource Sciences

Exploring Your Topic

Start with what you know - Identify the main concepts within your topic.

  1. Brainstorm a list of keywords based on the research idea
  2. What other words could be used to express some of these keywords (e.g., synonyms, species names, common names)?
  3. How can you combine these keywords to get the most relevant results? Use terms for the most important concepts alone or in combination with each other. Observe how your results change.

Look to the past for inspiration - Read the abstracts and (sometimes) articles in your search results

  1. Note the terms they use to describe their research ideas
  2. Look for similarities (and differences) in how they discuss the topic
  3. Repeat your search using some of the new terms you've learned.

None or few relevant results? Go broader

  1. Think of the broader category your research ideas are situated in
  2. Be willing to read articles that don't match your research question exactly

Too many results? Go narrower

  1. Use the refining tools in the search tool to narrow by topic, date, or study type.
  2. Add in more keywords to your search
  3. Look for patterns in the search results to see which articles most closely match your ideas.

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

Search with Subject Databases

Watch the Searching in Subject Databases video below to learn:

  • the benefits of using subject-specific databases
  • how to find subject databases in your area at OSU Libraries
  • how to narrow your results, think of new keywords, and set up saved searches
  • how to troubleshoot your search, especially when you have few or no results.

Note - use the chapter menu (three lines in the upper left corner of the video) to jump to different topics.

Text box reading "Searching Subject Databases in Oregon State University"

Practice Recommendations:

  • Choose a subject database in your field
  • Enter some search terms
  • Practice narrowing your search
  • Find new keyword ideas
  • Open the full-text of an article
  • Look for options for setting up search alerts

Accessing Articles Through Interlibrary Loan

Watch this video to learn how to set up your OSU interlibrary loan account so you can get articles emailed to you - even when OSU Libraries doesn't have a subscription to the journal.

Thumbnail link to the Setting up Your Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Account video

Watch this video to learn how to place a request through OSU's interlibrary loan.

Thumbnail link to the Placing Requests through Interlibrary Loan tutorial video