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Strategy #1: Use Summon

Use the Library's Summon box  the homepage to search across all of the available collection. Then use the filters to limit your results to scholarly/peer-reviewed journal articles, and further, by dsicipline and subject.

For example:

Search with keywords: als "protein misfolding"

Limit to: journal article, biology, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (als) on

Scan: abstracts to find an article that is reporting on original research

Verify: download article pdf and look for structures of scientific article

Locate: related articles using the reference list, "citing articles" feature, or other tools in database/journal interface

Strategy #2: Search Journals by Title

Use the Journal by Title search if you know a key journal for your topic, or you are tracking citations from a reference list of another article. Using this search will link you to the database which holds the journal. For example, the library has access to Nature Medicine through the database Academic Search Premier. Journal of Biological Chemistry is available through Highwire Press.

Key journals for this assignment are:

  • Journal of Biological Chemistry
  • Nature Medicine
  • Journal of Biochemistry
  • Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
  • International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology


Back issues (ip to 2012) of the flagship journal Cell are accessible through the Cell Press website. Once connected, choose archive.

Strategy #3: Use a Database

Use one of the "Best Bet" databases on the Articles tab of the BIology subject guide to search across many journals all at once.

Database Tips:

  • ScienceDirect - when setting up your Advanced Search, use  the the "article" limit. This limits your results to "original research"
  • SpringerLink - deselect "preview-only content" so that you only get results the Library has access to
  • Academic Search Premier - select journal articles from the results list; make sure the "reviews" is not selected

Look for the related articles links that are a feature in most databases. It might be called "citing articles," "find more like this," or "cited references."

These will link you to other, related articles in the database.

Strategy #4: Finding Citations

Once you've found a good primary source article, read it carefully for references to other key studies and names of prominent researchers.Do this by:

  • Examining the introduction section which should cite earlier, related studies
  • Looking at the reference list for sources used
  • Using the Journal by Title search to see if the LIbrary has access to the article.


Do your research early. If you find the citation for an article the Library doesn't have, you may request it through Interlibrary Loan. Just give yourself enough time (approx. i week), and we'll get the article for you, for free!

Strategy #5: When to Use a Review Article

In some cases, a Review Article can be used as a starting point. A good review will highlight significant studies of original research, and you can track these down through the Journal by Title search.

If you are going to use this strategy, read your chosen articles carefully to make sure they are reporting on primary research, and not summarizing a field.

In ScienceDirect - select "review article" to get articles summarizing a body of research

In many journals, sections such as "review" or "minireview" or "letters" contain summaries of research.