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BIOL 336: Fish Biology

This guide gives suggestions for working through the research process in BIOL 336 with Dr. Hansen. You'll find hints on the basics of conducting research in the world of fish biology.

Search Tips

1. Go to your most relevant source and look for subject terms or keywords listed near the introduction. Click on them to initiate a search of articles that use those terms. (In Science Direct, highlight a word to create a "search" option.)

2. On Biological Abstracts, use the "method & equipment" field to search for similar experiments. You can try to find similar studies done on other organisms by switching fields to "organism" or "super taxa"


3. Try switching one of more of your fields to subject instead of keyword to find more relevant searches


4. Look at the sources cited in the introduction or literature review of your most relevant article. Click on the links to the sources that are cited there, and see if they lead to any other useful research.


5. If you need to narrow your results, add more “and” and "not" fields in your search. If you need to widen, add “OR” fields.


6. Speak to your professor or a librarian if you feel stuck– they can help you figure out if you should expand, narrow, or refocus your search.

Using Subject Terms

Subject headings are terms that a database uses to keep descriptions consistent. Sometimes these headings are not necessarily the first terms that come to mind when starting your research. Headings could be discipline specific and include specialized language.

On an academic article, you might see a section labeled Subject Terms, or MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) terms, or Author-Supplied Keywords. Any of these can be helpful; these are terms that either the database supplied, the medical field uses, or the author provided. By clicking on the given terms, you'll be taken to a new search specific to that term. This will produce more results which can help you get to the best sources for your research. 

screenshot of a record of an academic article, titled "(Un)Just transitions and Black dispossession: The disposabilityof Caribbean 'refugees' and the political economy of climate justice", author: Perry, Keston K. On the library page, the subject headings ("Climate justice, political partcipation, refugees, environmental refugees, climate change skepticism, united states climate change policy) are highlighted in yellow.

You can also use the dropdown field to search by subject term, instead of by keyword.

screenshot of ebscohost search bars with "climate justice" in the first search bar and the "select a field" dropdown, showing options. "SU Subject Terms" is highlighted in yellow.