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Cluster 71: Biotechnology and Society

Your guide for Cluster 71 research at UCLA: Find books, articles, and more for Biotechnology and Society.

This quick introduction to searching for academic journal articles in databases will help you make your searches more efficient and more effective:

A review article helps you find must-read articles, identify controversies and debates, and learn about unananswered questions.

Looking for an efficient way to get a research overview on a topic? A review article is a great place to start.

A review article provides an analysis of the state of research on a set of related research questions. Review articles often: summarize key research findings, reference must-read articles, describe current areas of agreement as well as controversies and debates, point out gaps in knowledge and unanswered questions, suggest directions for future research.

Check out this quick overview of finding review articles in Web of Science, PubMed, Google Scholar, and more.

The Library's online subscription resources can always be accessed from computers and wireless networks on campus. However, off-campus access is restricted to current UCLA, students, faculty, and staff who have set up their computer using one of the following methods.

VPN on Mac with Natalie
"I chose VPN for my mac because I need to be able to access the full text of articles on different browsers." - Natalie, Environmental Science
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VPN on Windows with Michael
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Additional Platforms

For more information:


UC-eLinks icon is your link to full-text! Use the gold UC-eLinks button to find the full text across various databases or search for the journal title in the UCLA Library Catalog.

Articles are indexed in databases. The databases listed here are a select list of resources that the UCLA Library subscribes to. If you want to look for others, go to Databases by Subject and click through. There are also Research Guides designed by subject librarians at for various disciplines.

General Interdisciplinary Databases

Subject Databases

GMO Paper Example Searches

Genetically Modified

"genetically modified" OR "genetic modification" OR transgene OR transgenic OR GMO OR GM

Food, Agriculture, Corn

food OR crop OR farm* OR agricultur* OR corn OR maize

Famine, Food Security

famine OR hunger OR "food security" OR "food insecurity" OR "food aid" OR "food production" OR "food supply"

Food Sovereignty

"food sovereignty" OR "right to food"


Africa* OR "Southern Africa" OR Zambia OR Lesotho OR Malawi OR Swaziland OR Mozambique OR Zimbabwe


"literature review" OR meta-analysis OR "meta analysis" OR "systematic review" OR meta-synthesis OR "meta synthesis" OR "case study" OR "case studies" OR "risk analysis" OR "risk assessment" OR "pros and cons" OR comparison OR comparative


benefit OR advantage OR "positive effect" OR "positive impact" OR importance OR success OR value OR improv* OR effectiv*


cost OR disadvantage OR "negative effect" OR "negative impact" OR failure OR ineffectiv* OR harm OR adverse OR risk


policy OR policies OR law OR legislat*


econom* OR financ* OR socioeconom*

Other useful search terms and phrases

  • ethic*
  • "precautionary principle"
  • risk analysis" OR "risk assessment" OR "impact analysis"
  • "substantial equivalence"


Winter Paper Example Searches

opioid OR “prescription painkiller” OR opiate OR oxycontin OR vicodin OR heroin OR fentanyl
AND epidemic OR crisis OR addiction OR problem

To come up with this search I started with a theme from the book, the Opioid Epidemic, and googled “most common opioids”, while thinking of synonyms for the word “epidemic.” This allowed me to broaden my search, so that it includes all relevant articles that may not mention the specific two words I started with.

“Vietnam War”
AND “chemical weapon” OR napalm OR “agent orange” OR “rainbow herbicide” OR “Operation Ranch Hand” OR “TCDD”
AND health* OR danger OR effect OR safe*

In trying to generate articles relating to the theme of the epigenetic health concerns of the chemical weapons used in the Vietnam War, I started with terms discussed in lecture, the novel, and through a general google search. I then added another line to the search so that I only see articles discussing the human impact of these chemicals and not necessarily their role in the war effort more broadly. I used the start symbol (*) so all articles using a specific root appear, meaning for “safe” any article that uses the word “safe” or “safety” or “safer” will be searched as well.

“Vietnam War”
"Vietnam War" OR "Vietnam Conflict"
AND displacement OR migration OR immigration OR refugee OR immigrant OR migrant 

Additional Relevant Themes for Research

  • LGBTQ experience in the United States
  • Health/Epigenetic impacts of nail salon work
  • PTSD and war/trauma related mental illness
  • Traditional parenting methods in Vietnamese/Southeast/East Asian immigrant households
  • Intersectionality 
  • Disillusionment with the American Dream

Helpful Tips

  • After conducting a broad search, you can narrow it to only the most relevant articles by looking on the sidebar of most databases for the “subject”, “source type”, “publication date” tabs to limit the search
  • See if there’s a way you can change your search based on the terms you find in your initial browsing
  • Not knowing what you’re exactly looking for is often a good thing! If you start with a broad topic or theme like “the experience of the undocumented worker in America,” as opposed to a more narrow topic like “the experience of Latin-American undocumented agricultural workers in the midwest” you will able to be introduced to a wider array of sources and topics that might lead your research/paper in a new direction.