You'll need a College of DuPage Library card in order to use most of the resources below from off campus. If your card is not working, it may need to be reactivated.
Questions? Feel free to use my contact info to the right, stop by the Reference Desk, or contact us by email or chat.
Finding (and Narrowing) a Topic
Genetics is a big field and in order to work on a successful paper, you'll need to narrow down to something that interests you. Have a glimmer of a topic that you'd like to work on? Great! You'll want to work to narrow that topic a bit before you dive into the catalog and databases, or you will be swamped with results. You can try the following strategies to narrow a topic:
- Visit CQ Researcher, a library database that summarizes current events into massive PDFs.
- Issues and Controversies also does a good job of summarizing current debates.
- Encyclopedia of the Human Genome. Online in Credo.
- Encyclopedia of Genetics (Academic Press) . 4 vols. Reference QH 427 .E532 2002
- Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders Online in Gale Virtual Reference Library.
- World of Genetics. Reference QH 427 .W67 2002
- Encyclopedia of Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) : Online and at QH442.4 .M35 1998 An online catalog of genes and genetic disorders.
Want to find a book (print or electronic), a DVD, or articles? Check out the library catalog. Enter at least two search terms. Be sure to look at the menu on the left side of the screen to narrow down your research. You can also try browsing in the QH 430 section of the library.
Finding Articles in Databases
When you have a focused search (at least two search terms) and know that you need scholarly articles, it can be easier to search separate databases rather than the catalog.
Just like searching the catalog, be sure to use at least two search terms and evaluate the date of the information you're looking at. Is using an 10 year old article about Trisomy 18 OK? How about 20 years old? You'll want to think about whether our knowledge of the condition has advanced, and other information such as whether you're looking at a seminal (groundbreaking) article that everyone else cites. If you're ever unsure, check with your professor.
Sources for general topics:
Academic Search Complete has a mixture of popular and scholarly articles on a variety of subjects. You'll want to be sure that you're using a source appropriate for class when searching.
1. Use at least two keywords.
2. Think about the kind of resources you want: scholarly journals or not?
3. Check your date range to be sure you're looking at information in the right range.
Academic OneFile is a great place to find a mixture of scientific and popular articles as well. Just like in Academic Search premier, make sure that you're using a good source for this project while searching.
Science Direct: Indexing and full-text of 175 journals in science, chemistry, earth science, biology and other related disciplines. (Be sure to select "Subscribed Journals" from the Source drop-down menu.)
1. Type in at least two search terms
2. Select "Subscribed Journals"
3. Think about the date range for your project.
Sources for medical topics:
Medline: Complete National Library of Medicine database. This is primarily an index database, so get ready to look for journal
Medline Plus: Consumer Health MEDLINEplus has extensive information from the National Institutes of Health and other trusted sources on over 600 diseases and conditions.
Still not finding what you need?
Find an article from a citation:
Not finding the article you want in full-text online? Start by checking our journal locator to be sure that the article isn't just in another of our databases. Type in the journal name to see if we have access to the journal, and if so, for which dates.
For journal articles, bibliographic citations in the chemical literature tend to give abbreviated titles. Talk to Laura if you need help finding the full journal title when requesting an article. Guide to chemistry journal abbreviations from University of British Columbia will be helpful.
Still not finding the article you need? See the library's interlibrary loan page for information about how to request an article.
While you're doing Google searches to either narrow your topic or in order to dig up more information on certain subject, you want to be careful to decide if the information you find is trustworthy.
When it comes to science, nearly everyone has opinions: are we getting enough Vitamin D? What will fracking do for our economy or our groundwater supply? Your job is to evaluate the information you can find through Google and Bing to find the good websites--those written by authors you can trust, with good and up-to-date information.
Authorship: Who created this website? What is their background on the topic? Are they trustworthy?
Bias: Why was the website created? What point of view does the author have? Does that limit the facts they present or how the facts are presented?
Date: How old is the information that is presented? Is it still accurate?
Questions? Check out your professor's guide to evaluating information.
Want to be sure to use good websites? Take a look at my list of genetics sites in Delicious.
Take a moment to look at your website. Is this information trustworthy? How do you know? Be prepared to tell your classmates your opinion.