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Marine Sciences Subject Guide — Searching Scholarly Databases

Description of databases, reference materials, journals, books, etc. available for marine science

Database Searching

Although you can find article citations in a database easily, finding useful and relevent articles is often difficult. Several search strategies will be useful.

Boolean logic uses and / or / not  to combine words or terms. 


bacteria or microorganisms          includes either term

microscopy and bioassay              includes both terms

turtles not migratory                        includes first term but not second term


Truncation symbol, usually the asterisk *; offers variant endings on words. 

Example: hypothe* retrieves hypothesis, hypotheses, hypothetical, etc.


Wildcard symbol, usually the question mark ?, replaces a letter or letters in the middle of a word or one letter at the end of a word. Not all databases allow wildcards.


genetic? Retrieves genetic or genetics

colo?rful Retrieves colorful or colourful


Phrase searching, to keep words together as a phrase, you usually use the quote marks around the phrase "words together"

Example:  "global warming"


Author Name - the same author may publish under versions of a name over a lifetime. Search for different combinations of the name OR with unusual last names try searching for last name, first initial with an asterisk, as in Buffo J*


Silander, John A.

Silander John Augustus

Silander J.A.

Silander J.

Scholarly Articles

Features of scholarly articles:

  • Written for experts, not a general audience
  • Published in academic journals
  • Judged by fellow experts in the field through a process called “peer-review”

A peer-reviewed article has been reviewed by experts in the field before publication, to ensure that it meets the standards of the field.

Be aware: an item published in an academic journal will not always be peer-reviewed. Some Academic journals also publish items such as editorials or a note from the editor.

Video explaining peer review :  Peer Review in 3 Minutes


Find Reviews in databases - examples