Research in Biology


The following is a selected list of resources to get you started in your biology research. You will need to tailor your searches to the sub-discipline of interest to you. For further assistance, contact Dean Walton. However, if you are looking for information concerning human physiology please see Annie Zeidman-Karpinski's guide on Human Physiology Research.

Starting Your Research

The first step is to define the topic you intend to research. The sources listed below will help give you some directional tips and the necessary background information.

  • Subject Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
    There are many subject encyclopedias located in the reference area and the circulating collection of the Science Library. A search in the online catalog using the keywords "biology" and ("encyclopedia" or "dictionary") will give you the exact titles and call numbers. Because the field of biology contains many sub-disciplines, you should also search the catalog for encyclopedias or dictionaries specific to your topic (for example, "genetics" and "dictionary" as a keyword search). A few examples of subject encyclopedias and dictionaries include:
    • Concise dictionary of biomedicine and molecular biology. Pei-Sho Juo. [R121.J86 2002]
    • Elsevier's dictionary of biology. Rauno Tirri. [QH302.5.E47 1998]
    • Encyclopedia of life sciences. [QH360.2.E53 2001]
    • Encyclopedia of evolution. Mark Pagel. [QH360.2.O83 2002]
    • Dictionary of gene technology: genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics. Gunter Kahl. [QH506.K333 2001]
    • A Dictionary of biology. Elizabeth Martin, Michael Ruse, Elaine Holmes. [QH302.5.D52 2000]
    • Facts on file dictionary of biology. Robert Hine. [QH302.5.F38 1999]
    • Dictionary of virology. Brian W.J. Mahy [QR358.M34 1997]
    • Molecular biology and biotechnology: a comprehensive desk reference. Robert A. Meyers. [QH506.M66155 1995]
    • Oxford dictionary of biochemistry and molecular biology. A.D. Smith. [QD415.A25O94 2000]
    • A dictionary of ecology, evolution and systematics. Roger Lincoln, Geoff Boxshall, Paul Clark. [QH540.4.L56 1998]
  • Journals
    If you cannot decide on a topic, you may want to browse through the table of contents of current science journals. These are shelved alphabetically by title in the Science Library. However, the use of an index or database may lead you to appropriate articles in a more timely manner.
  • Annual Review articles in Biomedical Journals
    "Review" articles provide a synopsis of research that has been done on a particular topic and are one way to learn a lot about a topic in a very short time. These articles also contain comprehensive bibliographies, so if you find an article of interest, you will want to pursue some of the cited references during the course of your research. The library has access to most of the "Annual Review" journals in both print and electronic format- be sure to check the online library catalog for the most recent information. Note: review articles can also be found in other journals besides the "Annual Reviews" suite so if you don't find your topic doing a search in the "Annual Reviews" database, you may want to try searching in a database specific to your subject area.

Finding Articles

To look for articles in journals, newspapers, or magazines, you will need to start with an index (sometimes called a database). An index will allow you to search by subject or keywords which describe your topic. If you are interested in the research of a particular individual, you can also search by author.

Biology Specific Indexes

  • ASFA
    ASFA (Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts) indexes journals, books, reports, and conference proceedings on all aspects of marine, freshwater, and brackish environments. Coverage is from 1978 to the present and is updated monthly. ***From within this database you can check if UO owns the journal of interest and if not, request an interlibrary loan.
  • BioOne
    BioOne is database that allows the user to search for any word in the full text of over 80 high-impact bioscience research journals. Most of these titles are published by scholarly societies and provide integrated access to journals focusing on biological, ecological, paleontological, and environmental sciences. Coverage is from 2000-present for most of the journals, with some starting later.
  • Biosis
    BIOSIS covers original research reports and reviews in biological and biomedical areas. Coverage includes traditional areas of biology, such as botany, zoology and microbiology, as well as related fields such as plant and animal science, agriculture, pharmacology and ecology. Interdisciplinary fields such as biochemistry, biophysics, and bioengineering are also included. Information is available from 1996 to the present. ***From within this database you can check if UO owns the journal of interest. To request articles not owned by UO you must submit an interlibrary loan form.
  • PubMed
    PubMed covers all areas of biomedicine, including cell and molecular biology, genetics, etc., as well as clinical medicine. ***From within this database you can check if UO owns the journal of interest and if not, request an interlibrary loan.
  • Zoological Record
    Zoological Record is the definitive index for comprehensive zoology and literature relating to phylum or class of the animal kingdom. Citations are included from 1993 to the present. The print version of Zoological Record, back to 1864, is available in the Science Library (Z7991.Z87). ***From within this database you can check if UO owns the journal of interest and if not, request an interlibrary loan.

Other useful databases for Biology Research

  • ArticleFirst
    ArticleFirst (yep, all one word!) consists of nearly two million bibliographic records from the table of contents of over 13,000 journal titles. The titles cover a wide range of subjects, including business, humanities, medicine, popular culture, science, social science, and technology. Most journal titles in Article1st have been indexed from 1990 to the present. ArticleFirst is updated daily. ***From within this database you can check if UO owns the journal of interest and if not, request an interlibrary loan.
  • Ingenta
    ingenta provides citations to articles from the tables of contents of approximately 25,000 journals and magazines in all disciplines. The database has citations from 1988 to the present. ingenta was formerly UnCover.
  • Web of Science
    The Web of Science provides access to both the Science Citation Index (SCI) Expanded and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), from 1996 to the present. The database can be searched for words in article titles, by author, and for cited references (ask a librarian to explain this and/or show you how). The pre-1996 print and cd version of "Science Citation Index" is available in the Science Library [Z7401.S365]. ***From within this database you can check if UO owns the journal of interest and if not, you must submit an interlibrary loan request.
Be sure to check out our Environmental Studies and Human Physiology & Sports guides for information about these biology related disciplines.

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Finding Books, Dissertations and Government Documents

  • UO Library Catalog
    Use the catalog to locate books by topic (subject or keyword), title or author. The catalog tells you which journals are owned by the UO Library and in what format (print and/or electronic). To find journal articles on your topic, use the indexes or databases listed in the section above. Once you have a citation, search the library catalog by the journal name not the article title to see if UO owns that particular journal.
  • Summit Catalog
    Summit is a consortium of libraries that share their library resources. You can borrow books not owned or currently in use at the UO Library ("Request Item" option). Orbis works only for books. If you want to request a journal article, you will need to fill out an interlibrary loan form or use the request forms within the databases or indexes.
  • WorldCat
    Worldcat provides access to library catalogs from around the world. The database contains bibliographic records describing books, journals, maps, musical scores, manuscripts, etc. ***From within this database you can check if UO owns the book of interest and if not, request an interlibrary loan.
  • Current Research at University of Oregon (dissertations)
    Current Research@University of Oregon is a database of dissertations completed at the University of Oregon. The database can be searched by keyword in the title or abstract of the dissertation, by author, and by advisor. The fulltext of dissertations published after 1996 may be downloaded. Access to the fulltext is limited to current UO faculty, staff and students. See Dissertation Abstracts to search for dissertations from other institutions.
  • Dissertation Abstracts
    Dissertation Abstracts provides citations to dissertations in all academic subjects from 1861 to the present. Abstracts are provided for doctoral dissertations beginning in July 1980, while selected masters' abstracts are available from 1988. Dissertation Abstracts is updated monthly. ***From within this database you can check if UO owns the dissertation of interest and if not, request an interlibrary loan.
  • GPO Monthly Catalog of US Government Publications
    The GPO Monthly Catalog is a current bibliography of public documents issued by all branches of the U.S. government. ***From within this database you can check if UO owns the government publication of interest and if not, request an interlibrary loan.

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Web Resources

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Just the Facts: when all you need is a fact, a figure or a statistic:

  • Quantities, symbols, units, and abbreviations in the life sciences: a guide for authors and editors. Arnost Kotyk. [Science Reference QH304.5.Q36 1999]
  • Synopsis and classification of living organisms. Sybil P. Parker. [Science Reference QH83.S89]
  • Scientific style and format: the CBE manual for authors, editors, and publishers. [Science Reference T11.S386 1994]
  • Statistical Sources on the Web, by Grace York and her army of Library School students at the University of Michigan.
Created by dpwalton on Aug 7, 2012 Last updated Aug 7, 2012