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Zoology: Searching Tips

Search Tips for Finding Primary Literature in Zoology

In the Sciences, primary sources are documents that provide a full description of original research.  For example, a primary source would be a journal article where scientists describe their research on black bear population genetics in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  A secondary source would be an article commenting on or analyzing the scientist's research on black bear population genetics in the Sierras.

Bear taken with polaroid camera


Library Home Page

  • Article Databases – Search for journal articles
  • Library Catalog – Search Solano Napa and Partners (SNAP) online catalogs for books and journals in the Library
  • Interlibrary Loan – Request articles and books not available in the McCarthy Library


Search strategy for finding primary articles:

1.  Define your search topic.

2.  Identify keywords and synonymous terms.

3. Use the truncation or wildcard symbol (* ? +) to search for various word endings. See the online database help screens for the truncation symbol.

Physiolog*       Searches for physiology, physiologic, physiological


4. Combine concepts using Boolean operators.

OR => combines similar terms together into one set of results

            bear* or ursus


AND => combines different concepts together into one set


Bear* and metabolism


Use parentheses for "or" terms when combined with "and"

(bear* or ursus) and (metabolism or metabolic rate)


5. Select the most appropriate database to search.

See the Online Database tab for databases to search.