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Chemistry and Chemical Engineering: Training and Workshops

Library resources for Chemists

Searching databases

Your search strategy​

Find out more about preparing and planning your literature search: 

Creating your search strategy involves deciding what words to search for, how to combine them and how to make sure you are not missing out relevant results.


solar powered refrigeration for storing vaccines in developing countries​'


Identify synonyms/different terminology and alternative spellings​

Key word Synonyms
Solar power photovoltaic, solar electricity, solar cell, solar energy
Refrigerate cold storage, freezer
Vaccine inoculation, immunisation
Developing countries emergent nations, third world, developing nations, underdeveloped nations

Truncation (*)

Truncation replaces any number of characters at the start or the end of a word, e.g. chem* will find chemist, chemists, chemistry, chemical, chemoselective, chemiluminescent, chemotherapy etc

Wildcards (?)

A wildcard replaces characters in the middle of words, useful for finding UK and USA spellings, eg col?r finds both Color and Colour in Web of Science. 

If you need more precise wildcards, find out more at

"Phrase searching"

Use quotation marks to search for terms next to each other eg "copper sulphate". Phrase searching makes your search more specific and improves results

Boolean operators: AND, OR, NOT

Use OR to combine different words for the same search concept

Use AND to combine different search concepts

Use NOT to eliminate a word from the results (use carefully!)

Parentheses ( )

  • Use parentheses with AND/OR to build your search​

  • The search inside the parentheses is carried out first​

  • You can use multiple sets of parentheses:​

(agricultur* OR farm*) AND (technolog* OR “internet of things” OR “big data”)​

((teenager OR adolescent) AND media) NOT television​

Separate out your search

If you search for each search concept individually you can see which searches only return a few results and may need changing, then you can combine all of your searches at the end.​


You may find our Database Orientation tutorial useful to find out more.

Training and Workshops

Online Training for Research Postgraduates & Staff

LinkedIn Learning  For help with general IT skills, particularly MS Office (Word, Excel etc). Online video tutorials. University username and password required.   

IT Training  highlights the range of online training provided by isolutions for the software they support.