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BIOL/CHEM 510: Foundations in Graduate Studies

Updated September 2021

Selecting a Database

Use databases to find materials related to specific subject areas. Each database contains a multitude of journals and other resources for you to use in finding material for you own research.

When selecting a database, be mindful of three things:

  1. What subject(s) does the database cover? 
    • Although librarians do their best to classify databases into appropriate subject areas, some databases cover certain subject areas better than others. Looking in Aquatic Commons for articles about air pollution won't do much good.
    • Similarly, consider the kinds of research you expect to find in a database. Most databases in science subject areas contain articles with scientific analysis; that is, they're very data-driven and focused on showing results of experiments and observation. Looking in history, political science, sociology, and education databases for the same keywords will give you very different results.
  2. What date range does the database cover?
    • Databases can only cover a specific range of time. You'll need to be sure to consider how recent the material in the database is when selecting a database to use.
  3. What types of material does the database cover?
    • Most of the research you're expecting in academic research is in scholarly journal articles. And those kinds of articles are most of the resources that databases have in them. Some databases will have other types of material in them, such as
      • audio/visual material
      • book chapters
      • book reviews
      • conference proceedings
      • dissertations
      • magazine or newspaper articles
      • statistical data


Discipline-Specific Databases

Accessing Full-Text Articles

Databases offer a large number of resources in full text, meaning that the article or book is available in its entirety (usually in .html or .pdf). If the resource is not available in full text, the database will provide a citation for the item, and maybe its abstract. This should be enough to help you decide whether you need to find the full text or move on to another resource. 

If you can't find the full text for a resource, you can: 

  • Check Find It @CSU-Pueblo  for Full Text
    This will search for the article in other library databases
  • Look for it in print
    The library still subscribes to a handful of print journals, which can be found on the 3rd floor
  • Request it through Interlibrary Loan
    Our library will request an electronic copy of the article from another library and email it to you.

Tips: Drawing structures to search SciFinder Scholar

See ways to input a structure into SciFinder to conduct a substance or reaction search. You can draw a structure using the tools in SciFinder’s drawing editor, search a structure that you drew in another drawing application, or automatically draw a structure by starting with a CAS Registry Number or SMILES or InChI string.