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Gerstein Science Information Centre

BIO120: Adaptation and Biodiversity

This guide will assist BIO120 students, as well as other biology students, when starting to look for and gather research for papers and assignments.

Searching Databases for Journal Articles

You can use a database to search for articles on a specific topic, across a number of journals at once.  

On the Gerstein Library homepage you can find the major biology databases here:

Start with these databases:

  • Web of Science: Major interdisciplinary database covering all the sciences from agriculture to zoology.
  • BIOSIS: Major science database covering life sciences and biomedical research.
  • Scopus: Major interdisciplinary database covering all the sciences.
  • JSTOR: Access to the full-text of journal articles with much historical content.

Finding Journal Articles

There are a number of good places to search for journal articles. You can search a Database through the U of T Library Website - this option will allow you to narrow your terms, search within certain journals or collections of journals, and find your articles either on or off campus (by signing in with your UTOR ID). 

A simple web search will likely bring up some journal articles to use in your research, though you will have to sift through other material to get what you need. Google Scholar is a great option for searching for journal articles. A search in Google Scholar will give you a wide variety of search results - comparable to what you would get in a general search on the Library website.

If you have trouble finding relevant articles on the library website, in a database, or in Google Scholar, try changing your keywords. Try searching "your species name AND adaptation" or "your species name AND fitness." Also, try searching just the genus of your species - this way, you can search research done on closely related organisms.

Another tip: if you're looking for scholarly research that supports your hypothesis, try searching the name of the trait you're interested in. You might find research done on closely related organisms, which will help you defend why the research is important in your organism. For example, try searching "proboscis" instead of "hawkmoth proboscis." You might find examples of research documenting that a long proboscis increases fitness for a bumblebee. And if it increases fitness for a bumblebee, that's support for the argument that it may increase fitness in a hawkmoth, as well.

How to Find an Article from a Citation

Finding Articles with Web of Science

Finding Articles from BIOSIS

Search Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including books, articles, abstracts, and theses, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other web sites.


How can I connect Google Scholar to the library's resources?

How do I set up Google Scholar to send citations to RefWorks or Zotero?

Google Scholar Search