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Searching a Database

Now you have formulated your question and chosen your database. The next step is to do the search. For this demonstration we'll use Web of Science. (If you'd prefer to use SciFinder, click here for more information.) Here's a short video to show you how this works.

For best viewing, click the Play in HD button to view in fullscreen mode.
This is what you'll be doing:
  1. Unclick all databases except for "Science Citation Index Expanded". This will focus your search.
  2. Enter the concepts in the separate search boxes. Change the field designation in all the boxes to "Topic".
  3. Use an asterisk (*) as a wildcard character to retrieve different forms of a keyword: chromatograph* will retrieve chromatography, chromatographic, etc.
  4. Web of Science does not contain CAS Registry Numbers, so we have to use the common name(s) of our desired analyte: bisphenol-a OR bpa.
  5. Click Search.
  6. Results are listed in reverse chronological order, i.e. the newest articles on top.
  7. Scan the article titles and click on one that appears to match your topic well.
  8. Read the abstract. Abstracts are brief summaries of the paper that will help you determine quickly whether the article is really what you need and whether it's worth tracking down. They save lots of time.
  9. If you want to get the article, click the find it at u t button in the record. This initiates a search in our local catalog for an electronic version of the journal.
  10. If the article is available to you, and if all the links work like they're supposed to, you'll be taken to the article on the publisher's web site. Read it there or download the PDF version if you want. Keep in mind that UT does not have access to every journal in the world - you will sometimes hit titles that we don't own.
  11. You can go back to Web of Science and click the "Back to Results List" link to continue browsing your results.
  12. If you want to limit your search to reviews, check "REVIEW" in the Refine menu on the left and click the Refine button. You can use other facets in the Refine menu to limit by language, publication years, and other parameters.

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