Finding Biological Information

BIOLOGY 220 - Spring 2009

Step 1: Formulate Your Search Topic

What do you want to find out? Phrase it as a question.


can gas emmissions from cows, sheep or other ruminants be controlled?


Identify keywords or concepts. (consider alternative terms & synonyms)


cows or sheep or ruminants


control or inhibit or mitigate


Step 2: Identify articles in an electronic database or index

Database most appropriate for this topic:   BIOSIS

Use the default Search function

Do a topic (keyword) in each of the search boxes; use truncation on word stems. Leave the drop down menu between boxes on AND.

cow* or sheep or ruminant*


control* or inhibit* or mitigat*


Use the Refine Results side panel to reduce the number of hits, if needed.


Step 3: Find your articles, full-text online, or paper copy in the library

Determine if the UW has the journal. In BIOSIS, click on the purple button….like this 

If full text electronic access is available, a window with a link (or links) to the electronic content will open:






If the article is not available full text online, this window will open, with an option to search the UW Libraries catalog for the journal:




The catalog tells you which library has the journal, which volumes they own, and how the journal is shelved (by call number or alphabetical by title).


Step 4: Retrieve your articles

          Natural Sciences Library    ground & first floor, Allen Library, South wing, shelved by call number

          Health Sciences Library – second floor, T-wing, shelved alphabetic by title


Getting help

Natural Sciences Library Reference Desk

in person during the reference desk's open hours, email  at natsci@u, or call 206-543-1244

Library Gateway

Connect to real-time online reference (Q&A Live) or use the e-mail request form

Research 101

An introduction to research skills

Natural Sciences Library