Communication and Critical Thinking in Biology

Course #: BI296

Register for the Library Sessions

Session 1 Registration - Monday Feb. 6th from 1 - 2 PM in the Library 3-314.

Session 2 Registration - Wednesday Feb. 8th from 9 - 10 AM in the Library 3-314.

Session 3 Registration - Thursday Feb. 9th from 7 - 8 PM in the Library 3-314.

Interesting New Articles

Developing your Search Strategy

  • Create a research statement using keywords
  • Use keywords and/or controlled language (subject or descriptor or MeSH)
  • Use Boolean operators to connect keywords
  • Search appropriate database and check more than one database
  • Change approaches as necessary, searching is not a linear process but one where you might have to redo searches
  • Keep identifying new keywords and controlled vocabulary to redo searches

Finding Keywords

  • Develop keywords from concepts from your research question
  • Note possible natural vocabulary keywords and synonyms
  • Create concepts into one to three separate terms
  • Do not type in the entire research question into the search box
  • Do not take the first search response (usual sorting is most recent)


  • Search Statement: Identify potential stem cell methodology that could be used for changing valine to glutamic acid in hemoglobin of people with sickle cell disease.
  • Concept 1: sickle cell anemia
  • Concept 2: hemoglobin
  • Concept 3: stem cell methodology
  • Identify Related keywords
  • Concept 1
    • sickle cell disease
    • Hemoglobin S disease
    • globulinopathies
  • Concept 2
    • Beta chain
    • Beta-globin gene
    • codon nucleotide 6
    • Valine
    • Glutamic acid
  • Concept 3
    • Stem cells
    • Gene silencing
    • Gene splicing
    • Gene transfer techniques
    • Targeted gene repair
    • Genetic engineering
    • RNA antisense

Truncation and Wildcards

  • Truncation allows you to search for variant forms for a single search term
  • Wildcards use a symbol to stand in for a set of letters
  • Examples
    • microb* (searches: microbes, microbiology, microbial, microbacteria, microbiologist, microbiologists)
    • bacteri* (searches: bacteria, bacterium, bacterial)
    • behavio*r (searches: behaviour, behavior)
    • gen* (searches: genome, genomics, gene, genotype, genetic, genetics, genera, genus, GenBank, genera)

Boolean Operators

  • OR eg. fruit fly or Drosophila melanogaster
  • AND eg. bird AND song
  • NOT eg. anxiety disorders NOT animal

Identifying Peer Review Sources

Cite your sources using Council of Science Editors (CSE) Citation Style

•Name-year (N-Y) system

CSE Citation-Name:

CSE Name-Year: