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CHMA10 Web of Science Research Basics

Web of Science Results page

The number of results retrieved will be listed at the top left of your screen. 

Web of Science Search Results

Too many results? Add more keywords to narrow your search results.

Not enough results? Remove keywords or choose less specific keywords to broaden your search results. 

Spell Check! Google your keywords to make sure you spelled them correctly. Your search will not work if your search words are not spelled properly. 

Thesaurus Different databases prefer different keywords. Use the correct keywords for the database you are using. Look at the keywords that are listed for any relevant articles you retrieve and then try running a new search using those words.

Refine Results

If you get too many results, use the "Refine Results" column on the left side of your screen to help you narrow your search. 

It's also important to keep your assignment guidelines in mind.  Don't forget that you're looking for chemistry focused journal articles to use in your paper.

To narrow your search to fewer relevant results, try filtering results by publication date (for more current articles), document type (for example "Article" or "Review"), language (for example "English"), or subject area (for example "Chemistry").

You can also narrow your search by adding additional search terms into the "Refine Results" search box.

Identifying Important Papers

An "important" paper is one that has changed an area of research in some way.  If you are trying to determine if a paper is important consider the following:

  • How many times has it been cited? Remember to keep in mind the factors affecting citations listed below!  For example: a paper published in 2015 that has been cited 75 times is almost certainly more "important" that a paper published in 2005 cited 75 times.
  • In those citations what is said about this paper?  Some articles gain a large number of citations because many people are using them as a bad example!  Generally when an instructor asks you to find important papers they mean important in a good way.

Factors affecting citation count:

  • Time since publication (it can take time for citations to accumulate so newer papers will usually not have as many citations as older papers)
  • Importance of the work (both good and bad)
  • Importance/prominence of the journal the article is published in
  • Language of publication : something published in (say) Russian or Chienese will get fewer citations than one in English because fewer people can read Russian or Chinese
  • What type of document is it?  Literature reviews (also known as: review articles, reviews, research summary, etc.) generally receive more citations than original research papers (also known as: journal articles, papers, research articles, etc.)