What is your topic? Try to write it down in a short phrase or sentence.
Example: Use of animal waste to generate biomethane for energy production.
Try crossing out filler words and more general terms.
Use of 1) animal waste to generate 2) biomethane for 3) energy production
In this example, we've broken down our search into three "chunks" or searchable pieces. We are interested in sources that include all three of these pieces.
What keywords will you use to search for this topic? Think of a few synonyms for each concept, as different authors might use different words and phrases to talk about your topic.
Consider the differences between how academic researchers might talk about it compared how popular media will talk about it. You are unlikely to find scholarly articles that use the term "zoo poop", but you might find media articles that do!
For example, there are multiple ways that authors write about the concept biomethane:
When brainstorming synonyms and related terms, consider:
You can also use Wikipedia, encyclopedias, dictionaries and any relevant sources that you have already found.
Use Boolean Operators AND and OR to combine your keywords and signal to the database how they relate to one another.
Example: biomethane AND animal waste
Example: biomethane OR biogas
Truncation can be used to search for multiple different word endings in many databases. You can do this in most databases by placing an asterisk (*) at the end of the word root to stand in for any number of additional letters. Be careful not to place the asterisk too early in the word, or you will get lots of irrelevant results!
Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase in a database.
For example, searching for "animal waste" will find articles where 'animal' and 'waste' appear next to each other in the citation.
However, if you search for animal waste without quotation marks, it will find the words animal and waste anywhere within the record, not necessarily next to each other or in the order that you have entered them.
"animal waste" AND biogas*
You can begin your search using the LibrarySearch box below. This will search for books, ebooks, journal articles, journals that you have access to through U of T Libraries.
This is a great way to find known items, like a specific journal article. Put the article title in "quotations" for better results. (i.e. "Enironmental Chemistry")
Learn more about how to use LibrarySearch by visiting the links below!
University of Toronto Libraries
130 St. George St.,Toronto, ON, M5S 1A5
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