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CHEM 6611: Scientific Communication in Chemistry

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Building Blocks

Break Down Your Search

Example: amine functionalization via photoredox catalysis

A good "building blocks" search requires planning, modification, and repetition. Use a whiteboard, notebook, worksheet, etc. as you design your search strategy.

  1. Start by identifying the individual concepts  or "building blocks" in your search. Think of the concepts as answers to questions like "What?" "How?" "Where and/or when?"
amine functionalization
[this could also be 2 concepts: amine, functionalization]

photoredox catalysis
[this could also be 2 concepts: photoredox, catalysis]
  1. For each concept, think of synonyms and variations in spelling or grammar. Consider both more specific and more general terms.
amine → [particular amines]

functionalization → functionalisation, C-H functionalization, etc.

photoredox → blue light, visible light, photo-redox, etc.

catalysis → catalyst, catalysts, catalytic, etc.

Build and Combine Your Blocks

  1. Use OR to combine terms within each concept
(photoredox OR blue light OR visible light OR photo-redox)
  1. Combine the concepts using AND
(photoredox OR blue light OR visible light OR photo-redox) AND (functionalization OR C-H functionalization)

Revise and Repeat

Find additional terms for concepts in your search. Look at…

  • Titles, abstracts, and indexing of references you think are useful
  • Terminology used in review articles about your topic
  • Terminology used in encyclopedia articles about your topic

Think about different perspectives on your topic:

  • Methodology used
  • Type of reaction/class of reaction
  • Compound or compound class
  • Product

Add the new terms to the concepts in your search and run your search again.