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.

Writing 116 (Gautreau)

Writing in the Natural Sciences (WRI 116)

Selected Science Databases: Best Bets

Searching ScienceDirect: Tips & Tricks

Be Aware:

  • Use Advanced Search functionality to access a wide array of search options (i.e. limit to a range of years).
  • Choose to see Review articles or Research articles.
  • Use Get Access to request articles from 2019.

Screenshot of Advanced Search in ScienceDirect

ScienceDirect Help Link


Guided Search Activity Timer




Searching Web of Science: Tips & Tricks

Be Aware:

  • The Letters filter in Web of Science will not only return research letters, but also letters to the editor, and correspondance etc.
  • The Note filter in Web of Science will not only return research notes, but also commentary.

Refine your results with Limits

  • by Subject Category: select those most closely related to your area of study.  Check mark and click "Refine".
  • by Document Types: select those you want to view e.g. Article to locate original research articles. 
  • by Publication years: especially for topics in the scientific field

Refine your result by Searching in Results

  • You can also search for metho* (for method, methods, or methodology) to try to bring up articles that mention a Methods section in the abstract.

Times Cited and Cited Reference

  • This information can lead you to other articles related to your topic.  Look for "Times Cited" or "Cited References" hyperlinks.


  • Use the * symbol to search for variations of a word e.g. treat* for treat, treated, treatment, treatments etc.

Limit the Search to a Specific Field

  • The default search is a Topic search.  At the main search page, you may choose Title from the drop down menu.

Searching in PubMed: Tips & Tricks

Be Aware:

  • PubMed will automatically add synonyms and MeSH to your search. 
  • The letter filter in PubMed is for communications between individuals and a representative or organization.  It is often a letter to the author(s) or editor. There is no "research letter" filter.

Use MeSH Database (controlled vocabulary) from the National Library of Medicine

  • Select MeSH from the search drop down menu (rather than PubMed) or use the MeSH Database link under More Resources
  • Enter the common term, e.g. nosebleed, flu, heartburn,
  • If more than one term is listed, select the desired term with a check mark
  • Or, select subheadings that match your topic interest
  • Click Add to search builder
  • Search for additional terms if desired, e.g. outbreak, causes, therapy, etc.
  • Click Add to search builder
  • Click Search PubMed

Limit in a variety of other ways. e.g. by population, language, type of article, age group etc.

Find related articles

  • From search result list, see Related citations link under each item
  • From individual article records see links to articles under Related citations or click Related Citations under All links from this record