Skip to Main Content

Biology 101: Finding Articles

The Cell

Narrow Your Search

Combine concepts with AND to find more relevant sources

picasso AND Africa

internet AND privacy

bedrock AND Massachusetts AND hydrology


Use “double quotes” to find exact phrases

"rock art"

“African diaspora”

“invertible matrix”


Use proximity searching* to find words near each other

women NEAR violence

progressive NEAR/10 tax

"global warming" NEAR/20 "sea level"

*Proximity searching works differently in different databases.  Check the help section of the database to learn how to properly use it.

Research Tip: Find Text Button

The Find Text Button

Many of our databases have this SFX Find Text Button button, which searches for the full-text of the article in our collections. If we don't have it electronically, look for the "Request article scan" link in the "Get It" section.

screenshot of Get It section with link

Finding Articles

Scholarly articles: 

  • provide background on your research
  • put your research in context
  • support the results of your research.

Review the differences between scholarly and popular articles, see how scholarly articles are organized and review the process of peer-review:


Best Bet Library Databases

Databases are collections of articles, often discipline specific, that allow you to search across a large number of journals at one time.

Use the broad keywords on the Finding Books page and then narrow your search with more specific words based on your research needs.  Your best bets for finding journal articles in the field of biology are below.

The "Search Tips" boxes to the right and left offer advanced search techniques that can be used in many of the library databases.

Broaden Your Search

Use ORs and parentheses to combine synonyms or multiple topics

(oil OR petroleum OR crude)

(antibiotic OR antiviral)

(woman OR girl OR female)


Truncate roots of important words* to find plurals and more

perform* (searches for perform, performance, performativity, etc.)




Insert a “wild card” [*?$!] to catch words with different spellings





*Truncation and wild cards work differently in different databases. Check the help section of the database to learn what symbol to use and how to properly use it.

Need help? You can ask!

Need Help? You can ask!



Other ways to get help:

Email us

Call us at 413-597-4500

Text us at 413-648-6071

Stop by during our service hours.