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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

BIOS 090 Fall 2022 The Biology of Human Disease and Disease Therapy

Search Techniques

Here are standard search tools. You may find variations between databases in terms of the symbols to use and how they behave when executing a search. Check a database's documentation for details about searching and search examples.

TIP: look for items that cite the item you find interesting. Those citing items can be very relevant to your research as well!

Background Information

Background information helps you understand the main concepts or jargon you encounter in your research and/or gives you a conceptual map of your topic.

There are many resources (encyclopedias, dictionaries, Wikipedia used judiciously, etc.) to identify background information sources that help you with this. Some the library pays for, others you can find on the open web.

Scroll through the tabs in this box to see various resources related to finding background information.

Books and Ebooks can be a great source of background information.


  • To limit to ebooks, see the filter on the right of the search results. Print books will have the location in the library indicated. Lehigh uses the Dewey Decimal System.
  • When searching, sort the results by "Date Descending". That way the most recent items will come to the top.
  • Handbooks can be useful. They may contain good articles that provide an overview of your topic. 
  • If there is a book that Lehigh does not have, you can order them from other librariies using PALCI or ILLiad, available here. Start with Palci. You can find books that Lehigh does not own by going to WorldCat, which comes in two flavors.

Watch the video below to learn more about searching in ASA: the online library catalog.

Article Databases

To get a sense of the difference between popular and scholarly articles, compare this popular article to the scholarly article to which it links. 

See the distinction between scholarly vs. popular, under the Evaluating Sources page.

Below are sources of scholarly articles. Some of the databases listed overlap with the ones listed in the other tab, which focuses on popular articles. So some databases are multi-purpose!  Figure out how to limit to scholarly journal articles in the items below that also have popular articles.


Put in your search statement and then scroll down and select these options under Publication Type: "Periodical or "Newspaper". (TIP: you might find some scholarly journal articles come up if you use "Periodical". Ignore those; just look for popular magazines and newspapers in the results!) You can bring up journal articles in this database as well but won't need to do so for the exercise.

Sort results by "Date Newest".


You can search for popular articles, specifically magazines and newspaper articles, in this database by putting in your search terms and then scrolling down to  "Source Type" and clicking "Magazines" and "Newspapers".   (You can also search for scholarly articles in this database, but for the exercise just use it for popular articles.)

Some search tips here.

After running search, sort by "Most Recent First".   


1. Elsevier: News category

Click here. Click on the magnifying glass at the top to the right of the text "journals and books".  A box will open where you can search by your topic. Run your search. On the left, at  "Article type", click "show more" and scroll down to select news.

2. Or, browse the list of newspaper databases here to find one's appropriate for your work in the class. 

3. See the news link near the top in the Advanced Google search results.


View the video below for tips on searching for articles.


Accessing Full Text

If you are in a database and find an article citation without a link to full text, look for the Lehigh links, as below. Clicking on it brings up a screen (scroll down) from which you can access it or you will be prompted to look it up via ASA to see if it is in print, or you can order it via ILLiad. The information necessary to order it will be appear in the ILLiad screen. You can then order a copy of it. You will receive an email with a link to the article. Lehigh will order a copy of the article from another school, or it will scan a copy of it if Lehigh has a copy. Illiad requires a one time set-up.



Use ILLiad on Interlibrary Loan to request a PDF of an article that isn't available at Lehigh or a scanned PDF of a print article that Lehigh owns. You will get an email when the article is ready for download. Interlibrary loan has two flavors, ILLiad but also Palci. Palci is just for books that Lehigh does not have.

You can find books that Lehigh does not own by going to WorldCat, which comes in two flavors.

If you are reading an article or book and come across a citation for an article and want to find its full text, see this video: