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Research Resources: Class Guides

BIO170 - Genes & Medicine

This is list of starting points for your research. Resources are available through the Library or online.


Basic Information

Definitions, Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Enter a gene, disease, or molecule.

Searches work on the F&M network. Use VPN to connect from off-campus

Oxford Reference Online

Search Oxford Reference Online

Biology Books

Books are a great place to start your research. They are usually more broad and comprehensive than journal articles and can help you understand your topic before further searching. For more books, search the Library Catalog. Start with a subject or keyword search on a broad subject.

Visit the Reference section (1st floor) or Stacks (2nd, 3rd floor) of Martin Library of the Sciences. Books are shelved by Library of Congress call numbers:

QH 426-470Genetics
R 5-130General Medicine
RB 1-214Pathology
RB 151-214Theories of disease. Pathogenesis
RC 254-282Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology. Including cancers and carcinogens

Encyclopedia of Genetics
SCI REF QH 427 .E53 2004

Nature Encyclopedia of the Human Genome
SCI REF QH 427 .N38 2003
From the Nature Publishing Group. Consolidation and overview of the information gathered after the first phase of the Human Genome Project.

Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders and Birth Defects
SCI REF RB 155.5 .W96 2008

Find an Article

What to look for ... Scientific Literature

Scientists communicate and document their research in a very specific way. The scientific journal article (peer-reviewed article, primary literature) is designed to allow each reader to critically evaluate the content.

Articles written by scientists, for scientists usually have the following:

Section Definition Allows evaluation...
Author(s) Names, affiliations, and corresponding contact information Authors take responsibility for the validity of the information and their credentials are listed.
Abstract Summary of the article content
Introduction Provides a framework and connects the article to previous work Background and context for evaluation.
Materials or MethodsDescription of techniques and materials used Details to allow others to duplicate (check) the research.
Results Detailed experimental data Others can draw their own conclusions directly from the original data.
Discussion or ConclusionUsually ties the data to a larger picture
References Citations, a list of the works consulted in the author's research Allows others to retrace the author's thought process.

All the information needed to evaluate the conclusion is included in the article. In addition, most scientific journals are peer-reviewed.

Standard for Comparison

When you use other sources of information, ask yourself how the source compares to a journal article.

If it doesn't have the built-in checks and authority of a journal article, what advantages does it have that make it worth using instead of a journal article?

How to look ... Search Strategies

STEP 1 State your research topic or question in one or two sentences.

STEP 2 Break your sentence into key ideas or concepts.

STEP 3 List other words to describe your concepts.

MeSH - Medical Subject Headings are standardized descriptions of biomedical literature. Try using them to describe your concept.

You can also use LigerCat to try to find alternative search words or focus your idea.

STEP 4 Translate into boolean.
Group similar words with () and connect them with OR.
Connect different concepts with AND.

STEP 5 Enter your terms into the database. Refine for the specific database (below).

Where to look ... Indexes and Abstract Databases

The library provides two types of databases. Citation databases (or indexes) allow you to search many, many articles by different publishers, in different journals, in one place. Full-text databases allow you to read the articles, but usually only search one publisher or a few journal titles.

For best results, search a citation database for a topic, then go to the Journal Finder to find the full-text article. If you can't find it through the library, go to Interlibrary Loan.

Searches work on the F&M network. Use VPN to connect from off-campus

Web of Science (ISI)
The Institute of Scientific Information's premier citation databases in the physical, life, and social sciences. Search for articles that cite a known author or work or by standard search queries.

Web of Science is a citation index. After you find an article, you can look up the references cited by that article or more recent articles based on the original article. Covers 1970 to the present.

Web of Knowledge

Search Web of KnowledgeSM

Copyright 2010 Thomson Reuters   

PubMed provides access to over 20 million citations including biomedical literature, life science journals, online books, and other NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) resources.

PubMed is indexed by MeSH. Every article is systematically assigned MeSH terms so that when you search a MeSH term, you get every article on that topic in the database.

Biological Abstracts
A comprehensive reference database covering life sciences journal literature.

Articles are described by taxonomy, disease, chemical, gene, and concepts. Covers 1926 to the present.

Get Full-Text

The Library provides access to over 100 journal titles specifically for Biology and many more with some Biology content. For best results, after you find a citation, go to Journal Finder and search for the Journal Title in the E-Journal Portal. From the Journal Title, you can navigate to the year, volume, issue, and page number of the article.

If the Library does not subscribe to the journal, you may be able to get it through Interlibrary Loan.

More Resources and Websites

NCBI - National Center for Biotechnology Information
NCBI hosts a collection of databases including gene, protein, and literature databases. It collects and aggregates DNA sequences of different organisms and is freely accessible online.

OMIM - Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man
A "compendium of human genes and genetic phenotypes."
Searches the U.S. government science information including R&D. May retrieve publicity material in addition to scholarly material.

Citations and How to Cite

Each citation contains the information needed to identify a journal article (authors, article title, journal title, volume, issue, page numbers). For biology, many different styles are used. For more information go to the Citation Guide.

Example (APA):

Author last name, initial. (Year). Article title. Journal title, volume(issue), first page - last page.

Meyer, J., Howden, S., Wallace, K., Verhoeven, A., Write, L., Capowski, E. et al. (2011). Optic vesicle-like structures derived from human pluripotent stem cells facilitate a customized approach to retinal disease treatment. Stem Cells, 29(8), 1206-1218

Last updated: 8/16/11 le, contact Laura Eiford for assistance, 291-3843.

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