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Exploring the Chemical Literature

Tutorial for students in advanced Analytical Chemistry courses for majors, but useful to anyone interested in using the literature of chemistry.

Evaluating Results

Look at what you get

This is also a critical step. Be ready to do multiple searches with different combinations of terms -- don't stop after just one try.

  • If you get too many hits, try narrowing your search by adding additional terms or applying limits.
  • If you get too few or no hits, broaden your search by using fewer or more general terms.
  • Browse your results to determine how useful they seem to be. Look for additional terms or synonyms you may not have thought of and search them too.
  • If your results truly are very large even after you've focused it well, try limiting to Reviews, which will help you get an overview and identify the best articles to read.  Both SciFinder and Web of Science have Review filter options that make this an easy step.

Using Search Results

  1. Read the abstract first. Abstracts are brief summaries of the paper that will help you determine quickly whether the article is worth locating and reading. They save you lots of time.
  2. If you want to get the article, look for the full text link options, which can look different depending on the database you're in. Clicking a UT full text button initiates a search in our local catalog for an electronic version of the journal.
  3. You can go back to Search Results to continue browsing your the list. You can mark and save as many records as you like to review later, or download them into a reference management tool.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.