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Module: Finding Articles for Environmental Science in ScienceDirect
Page Index:

Tips for Searching

Searching Articles in ScienceDirect
Citation Resources
Glossary of Terms


  • Demonstrate how a literature database may be used to identify resources in preparing an interdisciplinary seminar for first year students. 
  • Review database searching and identify special features in the ScienceDirect that promote quick and efficient retrieval of literature.

Develop a syllabus for a new course offering titled Environmental Science to demonstrate these objectives.

Examine major research in Environmental Science. The research in this field is interdisciplinary embracing ecology (ecosystems), earth sciences, microbial systems, social, behavioral, and economic sciences.

This module will define the basic concepts of ecosystem research.

This database contains over 25% of the world's science, technology and medicine full text and bibliographic information. This resource also contains full text journals in the social sciences.  There are over 2,00 titles in its journal collection.

Tips for Searching
SD uses standard Boolean syntax with a few modifications.

  • Use words and terms that are essential to research topics, including jargon or buzzwords, and abbreviations:  Ex. mri OR magnetic resonance imaging
  • The singular word form will retrieve the singular, plural, and possessive forms of most words. 
  • The wildcard characters:    
    • Exclamation point “!” will find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. Ex. behav! would find "behave," "behaviour," "behavioural"
    • An asterisk (*) to replace characters anywhere in a word, except the first character.  Ex. wom*n would find "woman" and "women"
  • Connectors: Use AND when all the terms must appear; but you do not need to use “and" when it is part of the phrase. Ex. profit loss would find the phrase "profit and loss"
  • Special characters: "H2O," enter: H2O; Greek letter "K," enter: Kappa; hyphens, brackets, asterisks, etc are not searchable.

More search tips: http://help.sciencedirect.com/robo/projects/sdhelp/qs_main.htm#tips
This site contains an Interactive tutorial.  http://help.sciencedirect.com/robo/projects/sdhelp/stb_main_jnl.htm  

Searching for articles in ScienceDirect

There are five collections in which to search. They are: "All Sources," "Journals," "Books," "Abstract Databases, and "Scirus."
(Note: Scirus Web search engine for science, it may also be accessed at http://www.scirus.com)

Exercise One

Use "All Sources"  for this exercises.
In the Search box type:  "Making science relevant to environmental policy"
Next to "Within" click the inverted arrow and select "Title."
Now click search.
Results Complete citation
Journal title, volume, issue#, date, and page# and the author with a link to contact via email.

Viewing the article? See "This document box" located on the right side of this page:

  • Abstract or SummaryPlus: Choose one of these options to view the abstract.
    The SummaryPlus link includes the abstract, article outline, "thumbnail" images of figures, table and figure captions, and references.
  • Abstract + References: Choose this option to view the abstract and the bibliographic references.
  • Full Text + Links: Choose this option to view the full text of an article in HTML format, which includes the abstract, the outline, and the article text.
  • PDF (file_size): Choose this option to view the article exactly as it appears in the book volume or journal issue.

Exercise Two

The response or failure to respond showed the need for multi-level and multidisciplinary understanding and program action to deal with the complicated environmental issues led to the disaster and its aftermath. There are many questions that need to be answered.  Here we can look at the  methods and the results of research on hurricanes.  The question is:  What subjects and  methods are used to study the impact of  hurricanes on the city and the impact of city on the ecosystem?


Click on Journal Search:

a) Search strategy a) hurricanes synonyms: typhoon, tropical storm cyclone (Remember to use the singular form.)     search these terms "within" TITLE-ABSTR-KEY AND city or urban! or soci! (Remember "!" extends the root term.) "within" TITLE-ABSTR-KEY.

b) Check articles, review article, short survey, short discussion in the document section.

c) Change dates to all years


On the results display page you can refine your results by adding another term. Try entering  environment!    

Check titles of interest and then perform one or more of these functions
Display Checked Docs E-mail Articles 

Take a moment to select examine the listed references for
"Race, class, and Hurricane Katrina: Social differences in human responses to disaster
Social Science Research

James R. Elliott and Jeremy Pais
ScienceDirect gives links to the authors citied  articles.

Look for citations ending with the following:

Remember to check Sterling, other libraries, or World Cat if not available online
More resources:
Citation resources and personal alert

On your own:

Design your own search topic

Suggestions: environmental justice
hurricane and children or family
weather disaster and business
ecosystem and economics
ecosystem and public policy
environment! and science

Change the type of search: Abstract database, Scirus
Try to search different subjects areas.

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