You'll need a College of DuPage Library card in order to use most of the resources below from off campus.
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
You'll want to start with a topic that interests you, and one that you're willing to spend time on this semester. If you're struggling to get started, try looking at the New York Times Science section to see what information they have about current biology topics.
Have an idea, but it's too broad? (If you thought "climate change" above, this includes you.) Great! You'll want to work to narrow that topic a bit before you start looking for articles, or you will be swamped with results. You can try the following strategies to narrow a topic:
- Visit the Gale Virtual Reference Library in order to narrow your topic. "Stem cell research" is incredibly broad, but learning that Stem Cell Research is being used to study (and possibly alleviate) Parkinson's Disease will help you to look at a focused set of articles. Gale is also wonderful about teaching you important terms you'll be seeing in your research articles.
- A Google news search can give you headlines from around the world on topics like "invasive species Illinois."
Finding Scholarly Articles
Scientific research can be best found in academic databases. Here are the top two databases to look for information:
Academic Search Complete has a mixture of popular and scholarly articles on a variety of subjects. Make sure that you search using at least two terms. You'll also want to be sure that you're using a source appropriate for class when searching: how current is your article? Have you narrowed down to scholarly articles only?
Science Direct is a database with scholarly articles that focuses on the sciences. It has many more journals in the sciences than Academic Search Complete, so try looking here if you're not finding any articles you'd like to use in Academic Search Complete.
Requesting articles via Interlibrary Loan
Enter the Journal Title (not the article title) into the Journal Locator.
Look at the list of results that will tell you if the journal is in our databases, and if so, for what years. If the article you want is available, great! Click the link and search by article title. In the example, we have access to the title in a range of spaces, including print in the library.
If you don't have access to the title, head to the Interlibrary Loan request forms. Copy and paste info about your article into the form and then fill out your contact information. Usually you will get an email with a link to the article in about 5 days.
Using APA Style
Find directions about how to cite your sources in APA Style on the library citation guide.
Google Scholar will also create citations.
Finally, you are welcome to use NoodleBib if you'd like to use a program to create and organize your citations. You must "Create a New Folder" when you use NoodleBIB for the first time. Click on "I am citing a(n):," choose the type of item you are citing, and then fill in the online form. Your bibliography will be formatted for you.