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STEM Leaders Workshop

A library guide to support students in the OSU STEM leaders program.

On This Page

On this page, you will find tips, tricks, and resources to help you:

  • Find the original research study on the topic you're investigating (or find similar studies).
  • Find out more about the researchers who did your study.
  • Find more articles/studies investigating the same phenomenon.
  • Find books, magazine articles, newspaper articles and more related to your topic.
  • Retrieve or request the full-text of the articles you've found.

Understanding Keywords

Using keywords effectively is an important step in learning how to find articles.  Several tips for deciding which keywords to use are:

  • Focus on the main ideas in your research question
    • For example in the research question, "What are the benefits of using electric cars as opposed to gas-powered cars?", the main ideas are electric cars and gas-powered cars.
  • Know what fields the database you're using searches - does it search just the title, abstract, and author-supplied keywords or does it search the full text of the article?
  • Use vocabulary that is appropriate for the type of article you are looking for - newspapers use more general vocabulary, but scholarly articles use more academic terms.

All of these things will impact how well your keywords will match up with what you are trying to find.


Can I use "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).

Can I use 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: On average, articles arrive digitally in 13 hours.

Keeping Up with OSU Research

Like most universities, OSU issues news releases to announce new research and new discoveries. Use this page to browse all news releases.

OSU News and Research Communications