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Biology 0190E: Botanical Roots of Modern Medicine

Article Databases

These databases index journals that publish primary literature about plant sciences. While there will be a good amount of overlapping material, each database does have a unique focus, and will index slightly different materials. 

Databases allow you to search across multiple journals for keywords, and narrow your results by criteria such as article type, or date.

Searching Tips

  • Chop up your search into concepts, and connect the concept with boolean operators. Boolean operators are: AND, OR, NOT. 
    • AND makes your search more narrow, because it returns only references with both concepts included.
    • OR makes your search more broad, because it will return references with any of the concepts included. 
    • NOT is an operator to exclude things like erroneous homonyms or concepts that you don't want to include. It's best not to include this one unless you are seeing a consistent pattern in your results that you'd like to exclude.
    • Example:(Yarrow OR achillea) AND (traditional medicine OR herbalism OR healer OR ethnobotany)
  • Think of synonyms for your search terms. Find a few "ideal" articles to help flesh out your terms if you need some help. For this project, you will probably want to search both the common and scientific names of your plant.
  • Use subjects, or controlled vocabulary if it's available. These are keywords that are applied in the indexing process, which can greatly improve the relevance of your search results. 
    • Example - in PubMed, you might try adding the MeSH (Medical Subject Headings - what they use as keywords) terms:
      • (Medicine, Traditional[Mesh] OR Ethnobotany[Mesh])
      • Full example (Yarrow OR achillea) AND (Medicine, Traditional[Mesh] OR Ethnobotany[Mesh])