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EES2200 Advanced Seminar in Environmental Science (PhD)

This guide will help PhD Environmental Sciences students at UTSC access key resources for research, learn about publishing and scholarly communication, and more.

Why Document Your Search?

You might need to:

  • Double-check your search
  • Make changes to it
  • Run your search to scan for new publications

For these reasons, record information about your search as you conduct it.

Saving Your Searches & Creating Alerts

Most major databases allow you to save your searches. This avoids retyping many lines of text when you want to reuse the same strategy.

To save your searches, you will usually need to create a free account with each database.

To continue to use the same search over time, or to stay on top of the field, you can receive email alerts every time a new article that fits your search is added to a database.

As with saving your searches, setting up an alert is usually done by making a free account.

Documenting Your Methodology

Keep a list as you go with this information (using a spreadsheet, an online or paper checklist, or a Word document):

  • Databases searched, and provider used (ex. OVID vs. ProQuest for PsycINFO)
  • Date you performed the search 
  • Search strategy, including subject headings and keywords used
  • Search history (show combinations of terms)
  • Number of results, both pre-screening and post-screening
  • Number of duplicates

Citation Management

Articles and books are easier to manage if you use citation management software. These tools save time and effort by collecting and organizing citations from books, articles, or other kinds of media so that you can find information easily and in the same place.

Most programs will also help you create a bibliography from your references.