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ZOOL 343: Animal Behavior: Find Articles

Document Types

Abstract: a concise summary of a study

Article: a primary source reporting the results of a study

Review: a synthesis and analysis of peer-reviewed articles all pertaining to the same topic.  Also called Literature Review. These are extrremely important resources when starting out on a topic.  A good review will effectively lay out the state of knowledge on a topic and describe the seminal works in the topic.

Book Review: a review of a scholarly book, not the same thing as a literature review.

Choosing a Database

Researchers rely on databases to find articles in their area of interest.  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 four databases.

Biosis Previews (1969-present).  This is the most comprehensive reference database for life science research.  It covers original research and reviews in  traditional biology and biomedicine.  It also covers references to primary journal literature on vital biological research, medical research findings, and discoveries of new organisms. This database was originally known as Biological Abstracts.  It has powerful indexing features and a unique controlled vocabulary that allows very precise searching.

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.

PsycINFO covers the world's most significant professional literature in psychology and behavioral science. Learn more about searching PsycINFO and using the thesaurus--a built-in tool that will help you construct a comprehensive, precise search.

Academic Search Complete is a scholarly, comprehensive database covering multiple disciplines.