Skip to Main Content
Banner Image

BIOL 410 A & CHEM 410: Seminar Fall Spring 2023 Literature Search Assignment: Home

Biology 410 A and Chemistry 410: Senior Seminar

Choosing a Topic and Finding Search Terms

A mind map is the visualization of a subject and its related concepts. For example, if you were going to write a paper on Fashion History, you would need to narrow it down. Using a mind map, you could visualize it's sub-topics until you found a good fit. These sub-topics can serve as a good starting point for your keyword searches.

Mind map with Fashion History as the starting point

There are several free tools online for creating a mind map, but sometimes it is easiest to use pen and paper!

Found in the library catalog, Citation trails is an exploration tool that helps to find related articles and to a topic further by showing both articles cited by and cited in the current article.


Google Scholar

What is Google Scholar?

Google Scholar is Google's academic search engine that searches across scholarly literature. It has extensive coverage, retrieving information from: 

  • academic publishers
  • professional organizations
  • university repositories 
  • professional websites covering all disciplines

Google Scholar can be a good place to start a search, helping to:

  • Locate obscure references difficult to find in library databases
  • Find more details on partial citations or incorrectly cited works
  • Identify grey literature not often indexed elsewhere
  • Discover useful journals or databases to explore in more detail

In the Settings menu on the left hand side, click on Library Links.


Google Scholar Library Links

From here, search for Phillips Library and check and save all relevant options. 

When you find a relevant article, Google Scholar will link to additional articles via:

Related articles: A list of similar articles and resources.

Cited by: A list of publications citing that article.

Both these links are available under every search result.

Google Scholar Library allows you to save and organize your own collection of articles within Scholar.

  • Click 'save' below a search result to add it to your library. 
  • Click 'my library' to access your saved articles 
  • Can be linked to your Google Scholar Profile

Use operators to refine your search terms. Google Scholar also supports most of the advanced operators in Google web search:

  • the "-" operator excludes all results that include this search term, as in [biomedicine -magnetic]
  • phrase search only returns results that include this exact phrase, as in ["as you like it"]
  • the "~" operator will find synonyms for that word, as in [~robotics]
  • the "OR" operator returns results that include either of your search terms, as in [soccer OR football]
  • the "intitle:" operator as in [intitle:mars] only returns results that include your search term in the document's title
  • the "author" operator [author:flowers] returns papers written by people with the name Flowers, whereas [flowers -author:flowers] returns papers about flowers, and ignores papers written by people with the name Flowers
  • using quotes around a common word makes sure your results include common words, letters or numbers that Google's search technology generally ignores, as in ["the" border]

Search Our Collection

Search the Library Catalog


Suggested Databases

Interlibrary Loan Information (ILL)

Can't find something? Try Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Students, faculty, and staff at Mount St. Mary's University may use our Interlibrary Loan service to request books and articles from other libraries. Patrons must first be logged in to their library account. 

Interlibrary Loan requests may be submitted using this request form.

If you have questions about the ILL process, contact our evening services manager Zach Blanchard.


© 2023 Mount St. Mary's University - Phillips Library
Library Home | Library Admin | Alma | Worldshare Admin | Mobile Site