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BIOB98 Supervised Introductory Research in Biology

This guide will help students in BIOB98 to facilitate science communication and storytelling, find relevant resources in library databases, and develop search strategies for their final project.

Key Databases

Tree or Plant Databases

Before You Begin Your Research

  • Need help with planning? Use the Assignment Planner to create a suggested timeline for each step of your research assignment
  • Do some background reading using things like Google, Wikipedia, and books from the library catalogue so you understand your topic
  • Check out the list of key resources for your subject area

Steps to Successful Searching

Step 1: Brainstorm keywords that represent aspects of your topic.

Step 2: Select appropriate databases for your research topic.

Step 3: Build your search using search terms and Boolean operators. 

Step 4: Review your results. 

Step 5: Evaluate the quality of your sources.

Step 6: Get the full-text of relevant articles.

Example: Identify Search Strategy with Keywords

What do you want to search about your plant species? You may have to do some background research to get ideas for keywords and what about your species you want to investigate. 

Step 1. Describe your Topic

Tree species: Tricolour Beech Tree or Fagus sylvatica

Background research: How to grow and care for Tricolour Beech

Step 2: Identify keywords for your topic.

Note, this is just a starting place for keywords and they may evolve as I find more information and research on this tree species. 

Concept 1 Concept 2          Concept 3        Concept 4
Tricolour Beech Tree Canada soil temperature
Step 3: Find synonyms 
Concept 1            Concept 2                       Concept 3       

Concept 4

Fagus sylvatica Ontario "salty soils" climate
Beech North America "acidic soil" humidity
fagus Toronto  

"climate change"

  urban    "global warming"
Step 4: Build a search 
Concept 1 Concept 2          Concept 3        Concept 4

((Fagus sylvatica OR Fagus) AND (Canada OR Ontario OR North America OR Toronto OR urban) AND (soil OR "salty soils" OR "acidic soil"))