Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Library Reopening Dashboard
Get the latest information on the status of library services and space.
 Ask a Question

Research Group: Ecology: Search Strategies

Search Strategies

Identify your key concepts and related terms.

Example: I am interested in what ecosystem services pollinators provide.

Select appropriate search tools and/or sites.

Databases > Subject > e.g. Natural Science > General Databases

Construct a search.  Start with keyword searching. Could be simple or using AND/Or (Boolean Operators).  Join similar terms with OR. Join dissimilar terms with AND

"ecosystem services" AND (pollinators OR pollination)

Skim citation and abstract information to determine the usefulness of the source.  Viewing an introduction or conclusion can be helpful too. Sometimes a snippet in available on the results lists.  You may have to click on the article titles, or click on a preview to see the abstract.
Revise search as needed.  Too many or too few results?  Is this a suitable search tool?  Am I retrieving relevant results? "ecosystem services" AND (pollinators OR pollination) AND (honeybees OR "honey bees")
Consider searching for certain terms in specific fields. e.g. Title field

honeybees OR "honey bees" (Title) AND "habitat diversity" (All Fields)

Use options to Limit or Refine e.g. by Date or Document type (original research articles, review articles ...) e.g. Science Direct > Advanced Search > Journals tab > has a Limit by Document Type section
Find a highly relevant article and look for "Related Articles". e.g. on full record in Science Direct, see "Related Articles" box at right
View bibliographies for references to other resources or organizations.  Search for the known item or known organization. e.g. I found a references in an article to this citation: Kremen, C., N. M. Williams, R. L. Bugg, J. P. Fay, and R. W. Thorp. 2004. The area requirements of an ecosystem service: Crop pollination by native bee communities in California. Ecology Letters 7:1109–1119.
Search for variations of a word using a truncation symbol (*) at the end of the terms. e.g. pollinat* will search for pollinator, pollinators, pollination etc.
Look for a phrase, using quotation marks " ". e.g. "ecosystem services" / "habitat diversity"

Terminology

honey bee / honeybee / western honey bee = "apis mellifera" / European honey bee

"bee diversity"

pollination

pollinators / "pollinator diversity" /

habitat / "habitat needs" / "habitat diversity" / "habitat enhancement" / "habitat modification"

"ecosystem services"

native / wild / feral

managed / domesticated

Find a Known Item

Already have a citation for a book or article?  Try the following:

Search in UC Library Search, the library's catalog.

Search in Google Scholar, especially for article titles.

If a journal article, check to see if we have the journal for that year.  Use e-Journals tab in QuickSearch.

Sample Citation:  Dramstad, W., and G. Fry. 1995. Foraging activity of bumblebees (Bombus) in relation to flower resources on arable land. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 53:123–135.

Sample Citation: O’Toole, C., and A. Raw. 1999. Bees of the World. 192 pp. London: Blandford.

Sample Citation: Kremen, C., N. M. Williams, R. L. Bugg, J. P. Fay, and R. W. Thorp. 2004. The area requirements of an ecosystem service: Crop pollination by native bee communities in California. Ecology Letters 7:1109–1119.

How would we go about finding these?

Web Searches

Try searching a specific domain in Google with Search terms site:.gov (or .edu)