Skip to Main Content

BIOL 318 - Plants and Society (Simokat)

This guide will help you conduct the library research you need to do in order to complete your literature review.

Scholarly Sources

Depending on your topic, you may want to explore journals both in the sciences and social sciences. Here are a few that are suggested by your professor for your assignment. 

Each of the videos below will provide an overview of one or two database researching skills. 

Finding the CSUSM databases

Conducting a Search in a Database

Accessing Full Text Articles in the Databases

The databases below will have the best information for plant biology-related topics:

Database Disciplinary Coverage
Biological Abstracts Life sciences, ranging from botany to microbio to pharmacology **I recommend starting in this database for your literature review**
BioOne Biological, ecological, and environmental sciences
Academic Search Premier Multi-disciplinary literature
Google Scholar @ CSUSM Multi-disciplinary literature
ScienceDirect Multi-disciplinary literature, mainly in the sciences and medical fields, limited to Elsevier published research (Note: make sure you don't *only* search ScienceDirect, since you will only find research published by a single publishing company)


Tips Examples
Use keywords, not long search phrases

Instead of searching for "How have California native plants adapted to climate change?" break down your search into the main keywords:

California, plants, adaptation, climate change

To get more focused results:

Use quotation marks (" ") to keep phrases together

Use AND to combine different keywords

California AND plants AND adaptation AND "climate change"

To get broader results:

Use OR to combine similar/associated keywords

Truncate words that have a variety of endings with a *

plants AND (California OR Southwest) AND adapt* AND "climate change"


adapt* includes adapts, adaptation, adaptations, adapting, etc.

To eliminate irrelevant results: 

Use NOT to keep results of articles with certain keywords from appearing

plants AND (California OR Southwest) AND adapt* AND "climate change" NOT "power plant")
Look for ways to limit your search in the database

You can often limit by type of article (scholarly and peer-reviewed) & year of publication

(remember - for this assignment you need at least two modern articles published after 2000)