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Research Guides

Database Tutorials

Biological Science Database


For broad help with searching, finding full text, creating citations, and saving articles for later, please see the ProQuest Central page.

Using the Thesaurus

Sometimes, it's very helpful to search by subject term in a database by using its Thesaurus. Subject Terms are words and phrases put onto every article in the database that explain what the articles are about. They're helpful because the language used is standardized and used across the database - which means you get to spend less time searching with synonyms and trying different combinations of keywords.

To get to the Thesaurus in Biological Science Database, you'll want to navigate first to the Advanced Search by clicking on the link below the basic search text box. Then click on the Thesaurus link above the search boxes:

Biological Science thesaurus link screenshot



When you click on that thesaurus link, a new page will pop up on your screen, and will give you the list of thesauri that are in the database. The ones that are likely going to be most helpful in your searching are the MeSH Thesaurus and the Taxonomic Terms (Latin Names of Organisms Vocabulary):

Biological Sciences Thesaurus List screenshot


Once you select a thesaurus to search through, there will be a search bar at the top of the page you can search in, or you can browse alphabetically by clicking on any of the letters below the search box.

Here is an example of what a search looks like:

Biological Sciences Thesaurus Search screenshot


To add these terms to your search string back in the database, click the checkboxes next to the terms you'd like to include. Then choose whether you'd like to combine them with OR, AND, or NOT, and then click "Add to Search".

  • AND: will only display results that include both/all the search terms
  • OR: will display all results with either/any of the search terms
  • NOT: will display results with the previous search terms, but will leave out results that include the following search term


You'll be brought back to the Advanced Search screen, with your terms added into the search box:


Biological Science Advanced Search with Subjects screenshot


From here, you can still narrow your results like you would in a normal Advanced Search, or you can just click the green Search button. Your results will appear as normal.