Biology Research

Finding Articles


Biology research is usually disseminated through journal articles, so this is almost always what you will focus on when doing biology research.

Start with either or both of the following databases:

More than 1,500 full-text scientific journals are available through ScienceDirect, including several hundred directly relevant to biology.

SpringerLink provides access to more than 1,750 journals. While it is a multidisciplinary collection, its strengths are in its science, technology, and math coverage.

Academic Search Premier via EBSCOhost
This is a multidisciplinary database that contains quite a bit of full text.

Depending upon your exact topic, the following databases can help you do more comprehensive research:

MEDLINE via PubMed
MEDLINE contains bibliographic citations and author abstracts from more than 4,800 biomedical journals published in the United States and 70 other countries. The database contains over 12 million citations dating back to the mid-1960's. Coverage is worldwide, but most records are from English language sources or have English abstracts.

AGRICOLA via the National Agricultural Library
Provides references to books and journal articles encompassing all aspects of agriculture and allied disciplines,including animal and veterinary sciences, entomology, plant sciences, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries, farming and farming systems, agricultural economics, extension and education, food and human nutrition, and earth and environmental sciences.

SciFinder Scholar
This is primarily thought of as a chemistry database, but SciFinder also covers biochemistry, biology, pharmacology and medicine. Please note: Usage of SciFinder is limited to members of the Chemistry and Biology Departments. It is only accessible from on campus, and user registration is required. Please contact David Schoen, Chemistry Library Liaison, at for access information.

A few things to note about SciFinder:

  • Niagara University shares two logins with three other colleges, so if you can't login, please try again in a few minutes.
  • SciFinder is a reference database in that it provides chemical information and data and a bibliographic database, meaning that it identifies articles written about your topic. It is not a full-text database, but it will link out to full-text articles that are available through ScienceDirect.
  • SciFinder Scholar can be used by students, faculty, and staff in Niagara University's Chemistry and Biology departments for educational and not-for-profit research purposes.

Finding Books


Books are not as important an aspect of the literature review in biology, though they can be helpful if you are looking for overviews or are doing research on the history of biologists or famous biologists.

To locate books owned by Niagara University Library, use the Library Catalog.

The ebrary electronic book collection offers full-text access to many titles.

If you want to search for books owned by other libraries, too, then try searching WorldCat, a catalog that contains references to more than 57 million items owned by 9,000 libraries worldwide. Don't worry - if you need a book owned by another library, you can request it. To learn how, jump to the section called Obtaining Materials NU Library Does Not Own.

Finding Facts & Web Sites


It has become nearly impossible to link to all the useful biology and life sciences reference databases in one place. The Internet Public Library has pointed to some of the better ones on its web site.

The Reference Collection on the first floor of the main Library contains some biology reference books. Look for call numbers Ref QH through Ref QL. The Biology Department also maintains a small reference Library in DePaul Hall.

Finding Films


There are three places to look for educational video and documentaries owned by Niagara University Library.

  1. The Educational DVD Collection is located on the first floor of the Library.
    This collection exceeds 1,500 titles and can be viewed and searched via the NU Library Catalog.
  2. Films on Demand. More than 6,000 video titles are available for streaming anywhere on campus.
  3. The web is a good source of video as well. Refseek links to some of the best sites:

Obtaining Materials NU Library Does Not Own


If you need an article or a book that NU Library does not own, you can make use of Interlibrary Loan to obtain it.

Tip: In a hurry? If the article or book you need is owned by another library in Western New York, you can visit that library and use their resources on site (view a list of Western New York library web sites).

Please note: If you wish to borrow a book from another Western New York library, you can get an InfoPass card at the Reference Desk.

Citing Your Sources


The Biology Department does not require the use of a particular style manual, so check with your professor.