This is the "Finding Journal Articles" page of the "BIM 116: Writing Assignment #1" guide.
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BIM 116: Writing Assignment #1  

Last Updated: Sep 28, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Finding Journal Articles Print Page

Finding Journal Articles

How To Find Journal Articles:
1.  Find an article database that indexes research in your area.

The UCD library web page includes a link to  “Databases A-Z" that lists over 800 databases. You can also use the Subject Guides to find article databases and other resources for your subject area.  To make this assignment a bit easier, I have listed the 2 best article databases for this assignment below:

is the primary article index for medicine and clinical research.
Coverage: 1946 - present.
Web Of Science
Web of Science indexes research in all disciplines, including medicine. 
Coverage: 1900 - present.
Web of Science Help  


2.  Conduct Your Search: 

An outline is given below as a reminder of what we covered in class.  For help with your search, visit a library reference desk. 

Start with a Keyword search for the name of a disease  (EXAMPLE:  shingles).  

Focus your search by adding additional terms to your search, connected with AND:

  • shingles AND causes
  • shingles AND treatment

Click on the LIMITS (Additional Filters) links to the left of your results to restrict your results by:

  • Publication dates
  • Article types  (click on Review)
  • Language(s)

Consider searching the MeSH database (Medical Subject Headings)  for the name of your disease to get more robust results. 

  • In the box to the left of the search box, change the default “PubMed” to “MeSH” (by clicking on the dropdown arrow).
  • Enter the name of a disease in the search box and click SEARCH.
  • Click on the result that matches what you are looking for.
  • In the screen that appears, select: 
          --EPIDEMIOLOGY (
    transmission and control of diseases) and
          --ETIOLOGY (causes of diseases) and “Restrict to MeSH Major Topic”.
  • Click on the ADD TO SEARCH BUILDER button (upper right side of screen).
  • Click on the SEARCH PUBMED button after the terms appear in the "PubMed Search Builder" window.


Once you know the MeSH terms to add, you can improve the "robustness" of your search, and take a shortcut by adding the appriopriate term after the name of the disease (separated by a slash) at the main search screen.   Adding "treatment" or "causes" after the name of a disease (also separated by a slash) also works.   For example:

  • NAME-OF-DISEASE/epidemiology     e.g., West Nile Fever/epidemiology

  • NAME-OF-DISEASE/etiology             e.g., West Nile Fever/etiology

  • NAME-OF-DISEASE/treatment          e.g., West Nile Fever/treatment

  • NAME-OF-DISEASE/causes               e.g.,  West Nile Fever/causes




Start with a TOPIC search for the name of a disease  (EXAMPLE: 
shingles or herpes zoster).  

Focus your search by adding additional terms to your search, connected with AND:

  • shingles or herpes zoster
  • AND
  • cause* or treatment*   

The asterisk is a truncation symbol, so your search will include: cause or causes or causal, etc.)

Too many hits?

  • Limit your search by doing a TITLE search rather than a TOPIC search.  Change the default “TOPIC” to “TITLE” by clicking on the dropdown arrow to the right of the search box.

LIMITS: After conducting your search, use the blue REFINE RESULTS bar to the left to limit your search by:

  • Document Type: select REVIEW
  • Publication Year

Use the SORT BY option in the upper right to sort your articles by times cited:

  • SORT BY:  Times Cited – highest to lowest
  • Highly cited articles generally have a higher impact

Click on the LIMITS link under the search box to limit your search by:

  • type of article:  (limit to review)
  • year(s)
  • language

For additional help with your search, stop by any Library Reference Desk.

3.  Get The Articles You Want:      UC-eLinks

After you have conducted a search you will see a list of citations.
Use the article abstracts to decide which article(s) you want to get.
Click on the UC-eLinks button so see your options for getting a copy of the article.  

UC-eLinks will either take you directly to the online version of the article, or show you the options below (if the article is not online, or if the UC-eLINKS software cannot connect to the article).

“Get It Online From”
IF the article is available electronically, you will see this option first. Click on
one of the links under this heading to get an electronic copy of the article (look for the PDF version). 

R - E - A - D what the links say to make sure to click on the right one for your article.  Sometimes we buy different years of content from different sources (example: years 1996 to the present will be available through one link; years 1930 – 1995 will be available through another link).   NOTE: If the article is not available electronically, or if UC-eLinks did not get sufficient information from the database to find the an online link, the “Get It Online From” option will not appear.

“Find a Copy”
If the journal is not available electronically, click on the HARVEST or MELVYL link to see if  it is available in print.  Harvest shows what UC Davis owns.  MELVYL lists was all the UC’s own, and will also search outside the UC system.  If the journal is available at UC Davis, write down: the call number, the library where the journal is kept, and the complete citation to the article. Then you can go to that library, locate the journal using the call number, and xerox the article.

UC-eLinks also provides links to:
"Request this from another library..."  Request an article through Interlibrary Loan
"Add Citation to a Bibliography"
"Get Help"


4.  Need More Help? 

Visit any Library Reference Desk for help with your assignment. The librarians working there will be happy to show you how to search a database, or find a journal, or answer any other questions you have.

Reference desks are located at:

  • Health Sciences Library (main floor)
  • Shields Library (second floor) 
  • Physical Sciences & Engineering Library (main floor)

Library  and Reference Desk Hours


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