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College Writing 161: Writing in the Biological Sciences: Find articles

Guide to finding, reading, evaluating, saving and organizing different types of writing in the biological sciences.


Databases consist of records that describe the contents of resources such as scientific journal articles, reports, conference proceedings, book chapters, newspaper or magazine articles, and other resources. Some databases include the full text of some or all of the included resources, but many only contain information about the resources such as title, author(s), source or publisher, volume and issue, page numbers, abstracts or summaries, keywords or descriptors, and links. Using a database enables you to search across all of its records at once.

Subject focus: A database can be focussed on a particular subject area (e.g., PubMed for biomedical journal articles, BIOSIS Previews for resources on organismal biology) or cover many disciplines (e.g., Web of Science for the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities). A database may focus on one resource type (e.g., Dissertations and Theses; Access World News) or may include many different resource types (e.g., Academic Search Complete).

To read full text: Click on a full text link (if available) or the Get it at UC button.

To find relevant information on a topic you may need to use more than one database. Click on the link below to see a list of databases with descriptions:

Search engines

Search engines and discovery services:

  • search across the records from different information sources such as websites, databases and/or catalogs
  • often have broad coverage and can be used to find information on any topic from different resource types
  • are not as focussed as subject databases and don't always have similar functionality

Examples of search engines and discovery services:

For more help

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Elliott Smith
Bioscience, Natural Resources &
Public Health Library