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ZOOL 335: Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology: Search the Literature

Look for Review Articles

Review articles summarize recent developments.  They are useful because of their extensive bibliographies.  Reviews articles can be published in ordinary physiology journals but some journals specialize in review. Two good review journals are:

Annual Review of Physiology
Physiological Reviews

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Choosing a Database

Once you have a grasp of the current state of accepted knowledge about your topic, search to find what the current areas of investigation are and what direction the current research investigations are going.

Research Databases index the journal literature.  Databases can be broadly based, covering multiple disciplines or extremely specific covering a narrow field.

There is no one perfect database.  In routine use, researchers usually stick with one favorite. But when preparing journal articles and grant proposals, the review of the literature is extremely important.  At these times, researchers will comb through several databases.  

There are some significant differences between these databases.

Academic Search Complete  Indexes and abstracts articles from magazines, newspapers, and academic journals. This dataase covers all subject areas and can be used for finding information in almost any discipline.

Web of Science This "for-profit" database has for many years been the premier science database.  It indexes articles from 6650 major scientific journals covering all scientific disciplines.  It includes journal article abstracts and conference proceedings.  The strength of Web of Science is that one can search both forwards and backwards in time by utilizing its cited reference searching capabilities.  While it doesn't index every scientific journal, its coverage does include "the best" journals.  Searching is keyword for words occuring in the abstract and in author-supplied keywords.

Biological Abstracts / Biosis Previews  This is a standard database used by researches in the Biological Sciences.  Its strength is in searching for genus and species. It is based on a controlled vocabulary rather than natural language and includes a thesaurus to guide searching.  This database also includes Medline as well as all the articles indexed in PubMed.  Using this database rather than PubMed allows the user to link directly into full text articles that are provided through Ohio Wesleyan and OhioLINK.

Summon  Technically not a "database", this Discovery service searches of the content accessible to OWU at one time.  It is excellent for putting a topic in context and helping novice searchers or searchers just beginning to think about a new topic to see what's available.