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BIOL 103: Foundations of Biology

A course guide for biology students participating in the Engelhard Project: Connecting Life and Learning


This guide collects recommendations for resources, research help, and other information to support you as you explore genetic and environmental influences related to your selected mental health topic. 

You can direct questions about this course guide to science librarian Clarissa Ihssen. If you have questions regarding the research process on this or any other research assignment in the sciences, she is available for one-on-one consultations. 

Search for Articles


To find an article when you have a citation (e.g. from a bibliography), you can search for the journal title in Journal Finder or search for the article title in HoyaSearch or Google Scholar (more information available on the Science Literature page). 


Start by writing down your research topic or question, and then identify all the important concepts it contains. Develop keywords based on those important concepts. This document can help you develop strong keywords:


You have access to the full text of most (but not all) articles indexed in the library's databases. When you find an article of interest, look for links to the full text in PDF or HTML formats. Frequently these links will look like buttons similar to the ones below:

Image of Find Full Text at G buttonImage of Check for Full Text at DMLImage of JIDC Open Access to Full Text button

If you cannot access the full text, it may be because Georgetown does not subscribe to the journal. If we do not have a subscription, you can request a scanned copy of the article through Inter-Library Loan.

Find Review Articles

Review articles are a great way to get an overview of a topic.  They generally provide a summary of the state of the art in a research area, and the bibliographies provide excellent lists of relevant articles.  All of the databases listed on the Science Literature page provide options to limit search results to review articles.

  • In PubMed, under the filters on the left side of the page: Find ARTICLE TYPE and check Review.
  • In Web of Science: Enter a search and then from the results page, use the Refine Results options on the left.  Look for Document Types and select Review.

There are also journals in which many or all of the articles are review articles.  In HoyaSearch, use the Starts With option to search in the Title field and look for Annual Review of, Current Opinion in, Nature Reviews, or Trends in. (NB: This method will find review journals in disciplines other than the sciences too.) 

HoyaSearch screenshot of GU-Only Search for Title Starts With Limited to Journals

How to Read a Research Article

The following guides provide advice on how to read scientific literature effectively:


Use Subject Terms to Search

When looking for articles, try searching with the official terminology of the database. Look for a Thesaurus or Subject Terms link.

When looking for books in HoyaSearch or other libraries' online catalogs, look for relevant Library of Congress Subject Headings to get you started. Here is a short (non-comprehensive) list of examples:

Mental health or Child mental health

Mental illness -- Environmental aspects

Mental illness -- Genetic aspects

Behavior genetics

Personality disorders

Genetic markers

Genetic predisposition to disease


Substance abuse


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