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CSM RISE & LSAMP: Lit Searching and Zotero

Summer 2021 for CSM RISE and LSAMP

Think About Your Search

What types of publications do you need?

Articles (what type?); books, conference proceedings, patents, theses/dissertations, etc.

Build Your Search

Main concept

Modify that concept: What aspects are you interested in?

Take Control of Your Search

Use Boolean Operators to specify how to connect your search words:
       and to get results including both terms
       or to search either term
       not to omit a word from the results
Use an asterisk * to get different word endings:   photosynthe* to get photosynthesis, photosynthetic, photosynthesize, etc.)
Use quotation marks around words to have them searched as a phrase:   "rumen fermentation"

Play With Your Search

Try adding different aspects to your main concept, synonyms, broader or more specific terms.
        Look at terms used in the title, abstract, and subjects of results that you like for ideas.

What options does the database/search engine give for you to Refine Your Results?
        e.g., publication dates, publication types (e.g. scholarly journals), age groups, human/animal, language...

Handout  (from Research methods for comprehensive science literature reviews.)

To get more

Use * for alternate word endings
        e.g.,   sustainab* retrieves sustainable, sustainability etc.

Use the different search lines to enter key words (not sentences) describing the different components of your search topic

Redo your search using new keywords you find in article titles, abstracts, and subject terms given to the articles by the database

Use or between synonyms or alternate concepts
        e.g.,    greenhouse gases* or ghg* or carbon dioxide

Use fewer search terms. 
Each time you put in another search term (unless they are synonyms combined with or)  you will get fewer results.
Start with a small number of keywords and then add more terms or try different terms based on your results.


To get less

Use quotation marks around words you want searched as a phrase
e.g.,  "greenhouse gases"

Databases usually offer ways to Limit or Refine your search results, such as:
   To Scholarly/Peer-reviewed journals
   By publication date range
   To journal articles only (or books, dissertations, etc)

Some databases also have specific limits or search options such as:
   Age Groups

Add more search terms:
Each time you put in another search term, you will retrieve fewer results.
    Start with a small number of keywords and then add more terms or try different terms based on your results.
    Use the different search lines to enter more  key words (not sentences) describing different components of your topic
    In articles that look good, look for other terms in the title, abstract, and subjects.

What is it:  Is it a primary research article?  A review article, leading you to primary research articles? A dissertation....?

Is it relevant to your specific topic, does it give you useful background information, or use a methodology you could use or adapt to your project?

Does publication date matter? If so, is it in an appropriate date range?
Many databases let you specify a publication date range.

Watch for other terms that might bring back other results


Several literature databases, such as Web of Science and SciFinder, Google Scholar, and often publisher websites, give you Cited and Cited By links that may help you look forward (cited by) and backwards (references cited) in time.  

Use the references cited list in the literature you find to look backwards in time.