Animal and poultry sciences: Building searches

Animal and poultry science at Virginia Tech highlights resources most commonly used by those studying the following aspects of animal and poultry sciences: husbandry, management, nutrition, behavior, genetics, and reproduction.

Finding a topic to research

Sometimes the hardest place to start is choosing a topic to research. Here are a few Agricultural & Animal Science related sources you can browse/search through to help you select a topic for further investigation.

Boolean Operators

Databases use three primary operators to determine how you want your search to be run:

  • OR will find synonyms
    • cat OR feline
  • AND will combine ideas
    • cattle AND horses
  • NOT will exclude terms
    • mustangs NOT cars

Additionally, the use of () will allow the database to know how you want your search terms to be interpreted:

(horse OR equine) AND (hoof OR hooves) AND lameness

will bring much more relevant results as the search must include at least one term from the three primary concepts used (either or both of the terms horse/equine) AND (either or both of the terms hoof/hooves) AND the term lameness

Compare the above to this to the search:

horse OR equine AND hoof OR hooves AND lameness

where the blue indicates what and how the terms would be searched for and brought back in the results list. Here, results would include items that contained any of the following conditions:

  • anything with the term horse would be retrieved (so this would include anything about nutrition, reproduction, management, etc.); 
  • anything with both of the terms  equine and hoof would be returned (this would include things that weren't related to lameness);
  • anything that had both the terms hooves and lameness would  be returned (as the concept of "horse" is not tied to this, the results would include anything that also discussed sheep, cattle, and other animals with hooves that are lame).

 

Search Strategy Builder

Search Strategy Builder

The Search Strategy Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. While it is not a database, you can cut and paste the results into the standard database search box as the parentheses will dictate how the search should be interpreted.

  Concept 1 AND Concept 2 AND Concept 3

Extract the major concepts from your topic and enter them here.

List alternatives for each concept.

  • These can be synonyms, or they can be specific examples of the concept.
  • Use single words or short phrases.
  • Find additional terms in abstracts and summaries of the articles, books, and other sources you find during initial searches.
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Search Strategy Builder created by University of Arizona Libraries and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.