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Frequently Asked of Us

Check our FAQ for research tips and answers to popular questions.

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Stop by the Ask Me desk at Shadek or the Circulation desk at Martin, or call at:
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Students can consult with a librarian to research prospective employers and explore graduate school opportunities.

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Research Resources: Class Guides

ENV226 - Surface of the Earth

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


Basic Information

Definitions, Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Encyclopedia Britannica Online

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

Oxford Reference Online

Search Oxford Reference Online


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 and 3rd floor) of Martin Library of the Sciences. Books are shelved by Library of Congress call numbers:

QE 1-350.62General
QE 350-399.2Mineralogy
QE 420-499Petrology
QE 500-639.5Dynamic and structural geology
QE 640-699Stratigraphy
QE 701-760Paleontology
QH 1-278.5Natural History

If you cannot find enough on your topic, try searching WorldCat, a worldwide catalog of library books. You can then use EZ-Borrow or Interlibrary Loan to get the book.

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.
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 Knowledge (ISI): Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Arts & Humanities Index
The Institute of Scientific Information's premier citation databases in the physical, life, and social sciences. Web of Knowledge searches science, social sciences, and humanities articles. Search for articles that cite a known author or work or by standard search queries.

Web of Knowledge 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 1965 to the present.

Web of Knowledge

Search Web of KnowledgeSM

Copyright 2010 Thomson Reuters   

Nearly 2 million records about geology and earth sciences. Covers 1785 to the present (North America) and 1933 to the present (entire world).

Get Full-Text

The Library provides access to over many journal titles specifically for Geology and many more with some Geology content.

For best results:
1. Find a citation (using Web of Science or GeoRef).
2. Go to Journal Finder and enter the Journal Title in the E-Journal Portal search.
3. From the journal entry you can navigate to the year, volume, issue, and page number of the article.
4. If the Library does not subscribe to the journal (or your article), you may be able to get it through Interlibrary Loan.

More Resources and Websites

Government Documents

Franklin & Marshall College is a selective depository for the United States federal documents. We house many USGS (United States Geological Survey) maps and documents on the 2nd floor.

To search the USGS collection, go to FDSys or the USGS website. F&M does not have all of the USGS documents.

Topographic maps and some others are available for download at the USGS Map Locator. For more maps, visit the Martin Map Collection (2nd Floor).

Newspapers & Popular Science Journals

General Science Full Text
Journals and magazines from the U.S. and Great Britain, covering all major scientific fields. Indexing from 1984 to present, abstracting from 1993 to present.

Lexis Nexis Academic
Connections to newspaper articles (including New York Times and Washington Post), business information (including SEC filings), and legal resources (including state and federal case law). For Mac Users - Please use Safari or Google Chrome as your browser.

Full-text access to major U.S. and international newspapers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune, and local Lancaster newspapers. Coverage varies, 5 to 20 years.


Google Scholar
Search for articles, theses, books, and abstracts from publishers, professional societies, institutional repositories, and the web.
Note: If you follow a link and are asked to pay to access the article, consider accessing (for free) through the library website or Interlibrary Loan instead.
Search science information and research from the federal government.

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). Many different styles are used. For more information go to the Science (AAAS) Reference Style.

Last updated: 9/14/11 le, contact Laura Eiford for assistance, 291-3843.

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