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

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Research Resources: Class Guides

PHY 171: Quarks to Quasars

F&M Library Catalog

Search the catalog to find out what books, journals, newspapers, videos, maps, CDs, music, etc., the library owns.

NOTE: There are no journal articles in the catalog!

To find a book, begin by conducting a Keyword search our your topic. Analyze your topic or research question and break it down into its key concepts, which becomes the Keyword search. Once you have found a record for an item that looks useful, click on a Subject Heading to retrieve other items with similar content.

Other book resources include WorldCat and Open Library.

Indexes, Abstracts & Full-Text Databases

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias & Handbooks

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

Oxford Reference Online

Search Oxford Reference Online

Encyclopedia Britannica Online

Where is it? Science Library locations

Call Number Location
BF First Floor
GA-GE Second Floor
Q-TP, Z (some) Third Floor
Collection Title Location
Bound Periodicals Second Floor
Browsing Books First Floor
Classics of Medicine First Floor (by the pencil sharpener)
Current Periodicals First Floor (next to the circulation desk)
Government Documents Second Floor
Landmarks of Science & Technology Third Floor
Microforms First Floor
New Books First Floor
Oversize Books Third Floor (last book shelf)
Reference Collection First Floor
Reserves Circulation Desk
Photocopiers First & Second Floor

Internet Resources

A. Search Engines/Portals
B. Criteria to consider when evaluating Web sites:
    1. Authority: Who is responsible for the content? Are they an expert on the topic? Does the author identify her/him/them-self?

    2. Objectivity: Why was the site created? Is the information presented with a minimum of bias? Is the site meant to persuade the reader?

    3. Content: What is presented? Is the content focused, or does it stray all over the place? Is the site appropriate for research/scholarly purposes? Is the design of the site more important than the content?

    4. Accuracy: Does the site feature a list of sources, or bibliography, or links to other similar sites? Are other authorities cited?

    5. Currency: Is the web site current? Is it currently being maintained? Is there indication of when it was last updated anywhere on the page?

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?

* TIP: When using a web site for research, print a copy of the first page for verification. Web sites come and go easily!

Have you tried...

Last updated: 9/12/11 le, contact Laura Eiford for assistance, 291-3843.

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