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Links to resources for conducting Biology research at Okanagan College, and tips on how to use them. This guide also links to course-specific research strategy guides for some OC Biology courses.

Find Resources Using Search Strategies

Develop Your Topic

Consider using a concept map, brain storm, or word web to generate keywords, search terms, and related terms such as synonyms. 

Keyword & Phrase searching

Search the library catalog for books by combining keywords and using keyword phrases joined with "" such as:

  • "cell biology"
  • microbiology
  • "gene therapy"
  • "genetic testing"
  • protocol or protocols or manual or handbook
  • method*
  • yeast or "Saccharomyces cerevisiae"
  • phosphatase
  • "enzyme kinetics"
  • "protein structure"
  • "DNA transformation"
  • plasmid
  • uracil

Subject Headings

Narrow your search.  When you find a relevant item, look at the SUBJECT HEADINGS assigned to the item of interest.  SUBJECT HEADINGS bring together like items.

Books are organized on the shelves according to topic, so once you find a promising source go to the shelves and look at the books around it for related works. 

Phrase Searching

Narrow results using " " around phrases or terms containing more than one word. For example, "genetically modified food", "genome sequencing", "evolution theories"

Boolean Operators - Combine Search Terms

AND, OR, NOT - Narrow or refine search results by combining keywords and search terms using BOOLEAN OPERATORS. 

AND - Find resources with ALL of your search terms

OR - Find results with EITHER search term

NOT - Eliminate terms you do not want appearing in search results

Combine search terms using the operators and putting parentheses () around the ORs if other Boolean operators are used. For example: ("genetically modified" OR GMO OR "genetic mutation") AND (food OR vegetables) NOT (meat OR chicken OR beef OR pork)


Broadens a search. Search engines such as Google automatically truncate words. Use an * to add to the root of any word. For example: 
Develop* = development, developmental, developmentally, develops
Canad* = Canada, Canadian, Canadians

Narrow or Broaden Results by combining terms and adding additional search terms

  • Add additional search terms that include demogrpahics such as country (Canad*), gender (female OR women, men OR male), age (child OR youth, elder* OR "older adult"), climate (hot OR dry, wet OR rain*, humid OR tropical), etc.

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