Replicability and Biology

In January, news broke that on another of the replicability trials. Researchers from the Center for Open Science and Science Exchange, won grant funding to replicate 50 important studies. They have just published the first results of the project, having picked 5 influential research studies that focused on cancer. Of the 5 studies, three of the replication trials had strikingly different results than the original published studies. The results are leaving scientists with many questions: for example, the researchers interested in replicability did not try to figure out why 3 of the studies had achieved different results: should that be a goal? An author of one of the original studies, Iriving Weissman, also argued that the people reproducing his experiment had focused on a peripheral finding from his study, rather than the main one. As an NPR article points out, this result has implications for cancer research, as the original articles have influenced the direction of research in the field, as well as research funding.

Curious? You can read (or listen to) the NPR report, or read the editorial, feature article, and review article describing the replication process, its goals and its results, published in the open access journal eLife.

Nutrition Research Leaves Unanswered Questions

Sugar.jpg In "Unexpected Honey Study Shows Woes of Nutrition Research," an article in the New York Times, author Aaron Carroll discusses why so we still have lingering questions about so many of the current claims about nutrition. Carroll discusses a study that contradicts a belief that many people currently have: that natural sweeteners like honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup are better for you than created sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup.

However, as Carroll points out, the study that caused the fuss had some methodical problems: for example, the study only involved 55 people, and only followed those people for 2 weeks. Is that enough data upon which to base large lifestyle changes? The article also includes links to similar articles Carroll has published on weight loss, healthy foods and exercise, all of which are interesting reads.

Want to think through what questions you should be asking after reading scientific research articles, so that you're not naively believing certain research? Check out How to Read and Critique a Scientific Research Article from our library collection.

Image Credit: Romain Behar, Sugars; clockwise from top left: White refined, unrefined, brown, unprocessed cane.

How Do Celebrity Scientists Change Public Debates About Science?

Curious about how scientists actually feel about the well-known (celebrity) scientists who regularly engage in scientific debates? Check out “Responding To Richard: Celebrity And (Mis)Representation Of Science” by David Johnson, Elaine Howard Ecklund, Di Di, and Kirstin R. W. Matthews, published in 2016 in Public Understanding of Science.

The article authors interviewed 48 other scientists about their perceptions of Richard Dawkins, and find that opinions were mixed: while some believed that he asserted science’s role in public debates, others had trouble with what they saw as his misrepresentation of science.

You can read the full article here.

Thinking Scientifically


Fake news is something we’re all thinking about at the moment, but it doesn’t start or stop with just political news. A Survival Guide To The Misinformation Age: Scientific Habits Of Mind, one of the newest books in the library collection, has chapters discussing how to read graphs, what probability means, and practice of the scientific thinking generally. Want to know if you're consuming fake news? Knowing when you're looking at problematic data or logic can help you to make that distinction. The book has gotten great reviews so far--check it out!

Science and Politics

Background Readings
At Issue: Are Mass Extinctions Inevitable? General QE 721.2 .E 97 A 74 2012
At Issue: Human Waste. General TD 730 .H 86 2012
At Issue: What is the Impact of Green Practices? General GE195 .W 49 2016
Bioethics - short article
Bioethics - long article
Biopolitics and Biopower
The Borderlands of Science : Where Sense meets Nonsense> General Q 173 .S 56 2001
Counterknowledge : How We Surrendered to Conspiracy Theories, Quack Medicine, Bogus Science and Fake History. General BF 773 .T 46 2008
Environmental Crime
Environmental Ethics
Environmental Politics: A Very Short Introduction. General GE 170 .D 62 2016
Global Catastrophes: A Very Short Introduction. General GB 5018 .M 34 2014
Opposing Viewpoints: Garbage and Waste. General TD 791 .G 37 2012
Opposing Viewpoints: Global Sustainability. General HC 79 .E 5 G 59147 2016
Opposing Viewpoints: Government Spending. General HJ 7537 .G 686 2013
Opposing Viewpoints: Scientific Research. General Q 180 .A 1 S 357 2015
Pseudoscience Beliefs
Pseudoscience and Deception : The Smoke and Mirrors of Paranormal Claims. General BF1031 .P 78 2014
Science and Politics: A Very Short Introduction. General GE 170 .D 62 2016
Science Wars
Scientific Doubt
Sustainability and Sustainable Development
This Idea Must Die: Scientific Ideas that are Blocking Progress. General Q 173 .T 54 2015
When can You Trust the Experts? : How to Tell Good Science from Bad in Education. General LB 1028 .W 519175 2012


LIBRARY CATALOG: Search for materials in the COD library or in libraries worldwide.

Call number GB for water studies.
Call number GE for environmental studies.
Call number GF for human geography.
Call number Q 175.5 for science and politics.
Call number QC 900s for climate change.

Outline of the Library of Congress Classification System (what COD uses to arrange its books)
I-SHARE (formerly Illinet Online): Get books from over 80 Illinois academic libraries
Interlibrary Loan, to get books and journal articles from other libraries around the country.


Why Reference Sources?

Is your research topic too big to cover in a short paper?  Is your topic so specific that sources will be hard to find?

Before you even begin your research, start the process with reference sources-- in the Library's Reference Section or online in our databases.  Reference books, like subject encyclopedias, can give you a head start and make your research easier in the long run.  Use reference sources to:

  • find a topic
  • narrow your topic
  • find keywords
  • get background information on your topic

ABCs of Environmental Regulation
Atlas of Global Conservation Reference S 936 .A 75 2010
Cambridge Handbook on Expertise and Expert Performance.
Conflicts over Natural Resources: A Reference Handbook. General S 944 .V 38 2007
Critical Government Documents on the Environment General GE 180 .P 45 2015
Culture Wars in America: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints, and Voices
Dictionary and Introduction to Global Environmental Governance.
Dictionary of Environmental Quotations. Reference PN 6084 .N 2 D 53 1992
Dictionary of Environmental Science, Reference GE 10 .F 33 2007
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online
Encyclopedia of American Environmental History.
Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste : The Social Science of Garbage.
Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Social Issues
Encyclopedia of Environment and Society.
Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy.
Encyclopedia of Environmental Health and Science. Reference RA 565 .S 64 2012
Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues. Reference GE 10 .E 523 2011
Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Governance and Politics. Reference GE170 .E 53 2017
Encyclopedia of Public Choice
Encyclopedia of Science and Religion. Reference BL 240.3 .E 53 2003
Encyclopedia of Sustainability. Reference GE10 .E 528 2010
The Environmental Debate : A Documentary History, with Timeline and Glossary.
Environmental Engineering Dictionary
Environmental Security: A Guide to the Issues.
Gale Encyclopedia of Public Health.
Green Atlas.
Green Cities: An A to Z Guide.
Green Education: An A to Z Guide.
Green Ethics and Philosophy: An A to Z Guide.
Green Issues and Debates
Green Politics: An A to Z Guide
Guide to U.S. Environmental Policy
Handbook of Global Environmental Politics.
International Encyclopedia of Environmental Politics.
Leadership in Science and Technology: A Reference Handbook
Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Issues : An Encyclopedia. Reference GF 50 .J 65 2003
International Encyclopedia of Environmental Politics.
Leadership in Science and Technology: A Reference Handbook.
Natural Resource Conflicts : From Blood Diamonds to Rainforest Destruction.
Online Dictionary of the Social Sciences
The Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American Science, Medicine, and Technology.
Science and Political Controversy: A Reference Handbook. General Q 175.5 .N 469 2014
Science and Politics: An A to Z Guide. Reference Q 175.52 .U 6 S 45 2014
Science, Religion, and Society : An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Controversy.
Scientific Thought: In Context.
Today's Environmental Issues: Democrats and Republicans.
U.S. Land and Natural Resources Policy : History, Debates, State Data, Maps, and Primary Documents.


Animal Experimentation background reading
Animal Rights background reading
Animal Rights Movement background reading
Speciesism background reading

General Book Call Number Area: HV 4708
The Animal Research War. General HV 4915 .C 66 2008
Animal Rights: A Reference Handbook. (2009)
Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions. (2004)
Animal Rights: What Everyone Needs to Know. General HV 4708 .W 35 2011
At Issue: Animal Experimentation. General HV 4915 .A 6363 2013
Current Controversies: Animal Rights. General HV 4708 .A 5427 2015
Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare. Reference HV 4708 .E 53 2010


Meteorology Research Guide
Oceanography and Hydrology Research Guide
History of Water online video

Background Readings
Climate: A Very Short Introduction. Genera lQC 863.4 .M 324 2013
Climate Change background reading
Climate Change: A Very Short Introduction. General QC 903 .M 382 2014
Climate Change Impacts on Various Areas background readings
Environmental Philosophy background reading
Global Warming background reading
Greenhouse Effect background reading
Health Impacts of Climate Change background reading
This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus the Climate. General H C79 .E 5 K 56 2014
Weather Modification background reading

Reference Books
The Atlas of Climate Change: Mapping the World's Greatest Challenge.
Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate, and Water Extremes (1970-2012). Reference QC 981.8 .C 53 G 65 2014
Climate Atlas of Illinois. Reference QC 984 .I 5 C 5 2004
Climate Change : An Encyclopedia of Science and History.
Climate Change Politics and Policies in America : Historical and Modern Documents in Context
Climate Change: Examining the Facts
Encyclopedia of Climate Change.
Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Governance and Politics Reference GE 170 .E 53 2017
Encyclopedia of Global Warming. Reference QC 981.8 .G 56 E 46 2010
Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate Change. General General QC 854 .E 5258 2010
Multimedia Atlas of Global Warming and Climatology
The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change. General QC981.8 .C 5 H 4688 2014

Skeptics of Global Warming
Climate Change Controversies
At Issue: Adaptation and Climate Change. General QC 902.9 .A 33 2013
At Issue: Can Glacier and Ice Melt be Reversed? General QC 903.2 .A 68 C 36 2014
Boiling Point : How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists, and Activists are Fueling the Climate Crisis--and what We can do to Avert Disaster. General QC 981.8 .G 56 G 44 2004
The Climate War : True Believers, Power Brokers, and the Fight to Save the Earth. General QC 903 .P 766 2010
Climatology versus Pseudoscience : Exposing the Failed Predictions of Global Warming Skeptics. General QC 981.8 .G 56 N 93 2015
Current Controversies: Global Warming. General QC 981.8 .G 56 G 57445 2013
Denying Science : Conspiracy Theories, Media Distortions, and the War against Reality. General Q 175.5 .G 734 2011
Don't Even Think About It : Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change. General QC 903 .M 368 2014
The Madhouse Effect : How Climate Change Denial is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy. General QC 903 .M 3625 2016
Merchants of Doubt : How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. General Q 147 .O 74 2010
Opposing Viewpoints: Endangered Oceans. General QH 541.5 .S 3 E 535 2014
Opposing Viewpoints: The Environment. General GE 140 .E 5333 2014
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism. General QC 981.8 .G 56 H 67 2007
Skeptical Science (debunking skeptics of global warming)
Unstoppable Global warming : Every 1,500 Years. General QC 981.8 .G 56 S 553 2007

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
U.S. National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWS)
U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
U.S. National Weather Service (NWS)
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)


Cloning background reading
List of other encyclopedia articles on Cloning
At Issue: Human Embryo Experimentation. General QH 588 .S 83 H 832 2011
At Issue: Should Parents be Allowed to Choose the Sex of Their Children? General QP 279 .S 57 2012
Cloning: A Reference Handbook General QH 442.2 .N 495 2015
DNA Technology: A Reference Handbook Reference QH 442 .N 465 2017
Opposing Viewpoints: Cloning. General QH 442.2 .C 56475 2012
Opposing Viewpoints: Human Genetics. General QH 447 .H 834 2014
Opposing Viewpoints: Stem Cells. General QH 588 .S 83 S 74295 2012
The Sage Encyclopedia of Stem Cell Research.


Illinois Power Agency (IPA)
International Energy Agency (IEA)
U.S. Alternative Fuels Data Center
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
U.S. Energy Information and Data
U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Background Readings
Alternative Energy Sources
At Issue: The U.S. Energy Grid. General TJ 163.25 .U 6 U 8 2012
Energy Conservation
Energy Policy and National Security
Fossil Fuels
Green Illusions : The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism. General TJ 807.9 .U 6 Z 44 2012
Opposing Viewpoints: Energy Alternatives. General TJ 808 .E 566 2015
Opposing Viewpoints: Renewable Energy. General TJ 808.2 .R 448 2012
Renewable Energy
U.S. Energy Policy
U.S. Energy Production
Physics research guide

Reference Books
Alternative Energy and Shale Gas Encyclopedia.
Dictionary of Energy.
Dictionary of Energy Efficiency Technologies. Reference TJ 163.28 .H 67 2004
Encyclopedia of Energy. Reference TJ 163.16 .E 47 2013
Illinois Energy State Profile
Renewable and Alternative Energy Resources: A Reference Handbook. General TJ 808.3 .S 65 2008
Renewable Energy : Physics, Engineering, Environmental Impacts, Economics & Planning.
World Energy Crisis: A Reference Handbook. General HD 9502 .A 2 N 498 2013

Use the menu below to find the other reference resources and books by broad subject areas.

  1. Nuclear
  2. Oil/Fracking/Natural Gas
  3. Solar
  4. Wind
Nuclear Energy background reading
Nuclear Waste background reading
Radioactive Pollution background reading
At Issue: Uranium Mining. General TD 195 .U 7 U 74 2011
Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia.
Nuclear Power: A Reference Handbook. General TK 9146 .H 45 2014
Opposing Viewpoints: Nuclear Power. General TK 9008 .N 83 2013
Radioactivity: A Very Short Introduction. General QC 795 .T 86 2012
Too Hot to Touch: The Problem of High Level Nuclear Waste. General TD 898.118 .A 45 2013

Illinois Nuclear and Radiation Safety Division
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
U.S. Office of Nuclear Energy

Background Reading
Big Oil
Drilling articles
Fossil Fuels
Natural Gas
Oil Fields
Peak Oil
Pipeline articles

At Issue: Should Drilling be Allowed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? General TN 872 .A 7 S 545 2013
Dictionary of Oil and Gas Production.
Drilling Maps
Fracking: A Reference Handbook General TD 195 .G 3 N 49 2015
Oil : A Cultural and Geographic Encyclopedia of Black Gold.
Opposing Viewpoints: Natural Gas. General TN 278 .N 38 2015

Solar Energy Movement background reading
Solar Energy Resource Center
Solar Energy: A Reference Handbook General TJ 810.5 .N 49 2015



Biology Research Guide
Genetics Research Guide

Genetic Engineering background reading
Genetically Modified Food background reading

GMO Food: A Reference Handbook. General TP 248.65 .F 66 N 49 2014
Seeds for the Future: The Impact of Genetically-Modified Crops on the Environment. General SB 123.57 .T 494 2006

Skeptics of GMOs
Altered Genes, Twisted Truth : How the Venture to Genetically Engineer our Food has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public. General TP 248.6 .D 78 2015
At Issue: Genetically Modified Foods. General TP 248.65 .F 66 G 45746 2015
Current Controversies: Factory Farming. General SF 140 .L 58 F 332 2013
Fighting for the Future of Food : Activists versus Agribusiness in the Struggle over Biotechnology. General HD 9000.5 .S 3768 2010
The GMO Deception : What You Need to Know about the Food, Corporations, and Government Agencies Putting Our Families and Our Environment at Risk. General TP 248.65 .F 66 G 66 2014


Aging and Social Gerontology research guide
Health/Illness and Society research guide

At Issue: Birth Control. General HQ 766 .B 4794 2016
At Issue: Caffine. General QP 801 .C 24 F 73 2016
At Issue: Can Diets be Harmful? General RM 222.2 .C 27537 2016
At Issue: Childhood Obesity. General RJ 399 .C 6 C 47213 2016
At Issue: Fast Food. General TX 370 .F 372 2015
At Issue: What Should We Eat? General RA 784 .W 488 2016
At Issue: Why is Autism on the Rise? General RC 553 .A 88 W 4585 2014

Current Controversies: Alternative Therapies. General R 733 .A 5157 2012
Current Controversies: Assisted Suicide. General R 726 .A 8533 2012
Current Controversies: Drug Legalization General HV 5825 .D 77667 2015
Current Controversies: Medical Marijuana. General RM 666 .C 266 M 433 2011
Current Controversies: Pesticides. General SB 951.14 .P 47 2014

Opposing Viewpoints: The Aging Population. General HQ 1061 .A 4298 2014
Opposing Viewpoints: Alternative Medicine. General R 733 .A 4587 2012
Opposing Viewpoints: Addictions. General HV 4998 .A 319 2014
Opposing Viewpoints: Birth Control. General HQ 766 .B 4794 2016
Opposing Viewpoints: Birth Defects. General RG 627.5 .B 57 2014
Opposing Viewpoints: Breast Cancer. General RC 280 .B 8 B 6642 2016
Opposing Viewpoints: Chemicals. General TD 176.7 .C 474 2015
Opposing Viewpoints: Eating Disorders. General RC 552 .E 18 E 28565 2012
Opposing Viewpoints: Euthanasia. General R 726 .E 77518 2015
Opposing Viewpoints: The Legalization of Marijuana. General KF 3891 .M 2 L 43 2016
Opposing Viewpoints: Medical Technology. General R 855.3 .M 424 2013
Opposing Viewpoints: Medical Testing. General RM 301.27 .M 43 2014
Opposing Viewpoints: Mental Illness. General HV 3004 .B 46 2016
Opposing Viewpoints: Obesity. General RC 628 .O 222 2015
Opposing Viewpoints: Organ Donation. General RD 129.5 .O 738 2013
Opposing Viewpoints: Performance Enhancing Drugs. General RC 1230 .P 4762 2015
Opposing Viewpoints: The Pharmaceutical Industry. General RM 301.15 .P 477 2012
Opposing Viewpoints: Tobacco and Smoking. General HV 5760 .T 623 2015
Opposing Viewpoints: Women's Health. General RA 778 .W 6825 2015

Vaccinations background readings
Vaccines background reading
Vaccines as a Social Issue background reading
At Issue: Do Infectious Diseases pose a Threat? General RA 643 .D 595 2014
Current Controversies: Vaccines. General RA 638 .V 333 2012
The HPV Vaccine Controversy : Sex, Cancer, God, and Politics : A Guide. General QR 189.5 .P 36 K 75 2008
Vaccination Controversies: A Reference Handbook General RA 638 .N 495 2013


Technology and Society research guide
The Sociology of Technology background reading
At Issue: Does the Internet increase Anxiety? General HM 851 .D 626 2016
At Issue: Location Based Social Networking and Services. General HM 742 .L 63 2014
At Issue: Violent Video Games. General HQ 784 .V 53 V 56 2015
Encyclopedia of Industrial Biotechnology.
Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Technology.
Ethics, Science, Technology, and Engineering: A Global Resource.
The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. Reference Q121 .M 3 2012
Opposing Viewpoints: Nanotechnology. General T 174.7 .N 345525 2014
Opposing Viewpoints: Robotic Technology. General TJ 211.2 .R 63 2014
The Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American Science, Medicine and Technology.


Northeastern Illinois Water Issues
Meteorology Research Guide
Oceanography and Hydrology Research Guide

Background Readings
Agricultural Demand for Water
At Issue: Will the World Run Out of Fresh Water? General TD 345 .W 55 2012
Fresh Water Ecology
Global Viewpoints: Water. General GB 662.3 .W 372 2012
Global Water Cycle Disruptions and Intense Weather Events
Groundwater Pollution
Hydrologic Cycle
Opposing Viewpoints: Endangered Oceans. General QH 541.5 .S 3 E 535 2014
Riparian Land
River Basins
Rivers: A Very Short Introduction. General GB 1203.2 .M 534 2012
Sea Level Change
Sharing Freshwater
Water: A Very Short Introduction. General GB 661.2 .F 56 2015
Water Allocation
Water and Culture
Water Conservation
Water Resources and Quality
Water Supplies and Access to Clean Water

Reference Books
The Atlas of Water. Reference G 1046 .C 3 B 53 2009
Competition for Water Resources : Experiences and Management Approaches in the US and Europe. Circulation Desk TD 223 .C 66 2017
Encyclopedia of Water Politics and Policy in the United States
Encyclopedia of Water Science Reference S 494.5 .W 3 E 54 2003
The Global Water Crisis: A Reference Handbook. General TD 348 .N 49 2016
How Federal Policies Affect the Allocation of Water (2006)
Key Concepts in Water Resource Management.
Seas and Waterways of the World : An Encyclopedia of History, Uses, and Issues. Reference HE 381 .S 43 2010
The Water Atlas. Reference GB 671 .C 54 2004
The Water Dictionary : A Comprehensive Reference of Water Terminology.
The Water Encyclopedia. Reference TD 345 .L 393 2005
Water Planet : The Culture, Politics, Economics, and Sustainability of Water on Earth.
Water Resource Planning and Management.
Water Rights and the Environment in the United States : A Documentary and Reference Guide.
The World's Oceans: Geography, History, and Environment.

United Nations - Water
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Water
U.S. Department of the Interior - Clean Water
U.S. Drought Monitor
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) - Water
U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Northeastern Illinois Water Issues

Illinois Water Supply

Illinois Flood Maps
Major Watersheds of Illinois

Chicago City Department of Water Management
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) - Water
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) - Watershed Plans
Cook County Northwest Water Commission
DeKalb County Watersheds
DuPage County Government - Water Division
DuPage County Water Commission
Fox River Ecosystem Partnership
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) - Water Resources
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) - Water Issues
Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS)
Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS)
Illinois Water Resources Center (IWRC)
Illinois Water Science Center (IWSC) - USGS and the University of Illinois
Kankakee County Soil and Water Conservation Districe
Kendall County - Groundwater
Lake County, Illinois, watersheds
Lake Michigan Water Allocation
Metropolitan Planning Council
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
North Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District
Northwest Municipal Conference (NWMC) - Stormwater Management
Will County and South Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District


  • Anthropology
  • Controverisal Topics
  • Criminal Justice
  • Emergency Management and Disaster Information
  • Environmental Economics
  • Ethics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Social Justice
  • Sociology
  • Urban Studies
  • __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Federation of American Scientists (FAS)
    Greenpeace Organization
    Illinois Environmental Council
    Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA)
    National Science Foundation (NSF)
    Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) - Environment
    United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    U.S. Department of the Interior

    Climate Change and Trees

    nature communications.PNG

    In interesting news, scientists studying climate change have discovered that it appears that trees and other land-based plants slowed the growth of atmospheric carbon dioxide by absorbing 60 percent (rather than almost 50) of carbon dioxide produced between 2002-2014. In the article "Recent pause in the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 due to enhanced terrestrial carbon uptake," lead article scientist Trevor Keenan discusses some of the reasons this may be happening, from more plant growth in thawing Arctic regions, to changes in nutrient deposition in the soil, light quality, and ozone concentrations.

    Curious? Check it out for yourself: you can read the full article, from Nature Communications. You can also read a summary of the research in a Washington Post article.

    You can also check carbon dioxide emissions data at the Global Carbon project.

    The Purpose of Citizen Science

    I know that I've talked about citizen science before, but Jason Lloyd has published an article in Slate I find thought-provoking. Titled "Citizen Science Isn’t Just About Collecting Data," Lloyd discusses how grounded participation in research projects can increase scientific literacy. As Lloyd says:

    But citizens can do more for science than just collect data (as important as data collection is). By educating themselves in the research and infusing urgency into the process, citizen scientists can get involved in decisions about what gets researched, how research is conducted, and how results should be used. This pushes the bounds of citizen science in new and contentious ways.

    Citizen participation in science-related decision-making can mean advocating for testing, as residents in Flint, Michigan, did when they realized that, despite their state Department of Environmental Quality’s claims, their water was contaminated with lead. It can mean loudly encouraging new research priorities, like AIDS activists did in the 1980s and some cancer patient advocates do today. Or it can mean funding the development of better air-quality samplers for use by communities near petrochemical facilities.

    As we all have a role to play in public policy decisions, from what to do about vaccination rates among children to whether or not to support alternative energy projects, it's helpful for students to have experience with collecting and analyzing data in a meaningful way.

    The article also includes some interesting citizen science projects for students, from earth science through biology to astronomy. Interested in finding more options? Zooniverse is still providing examples of projects that could use volunteers, or contact me to find more potential projects.

    Are Books Always Credible?


    Are you using books (or assigning books to your students) as part of research projects because you believe that they are more error-proof than other sources?

    You might want to rethink that-- read Shannon Palus's article "Why Doesn't Anyone* Fact-Check Science Books?" in Slate about how book editing is not an entirely expert endeavor. Some of her arguments are backed up by different incidents in the publishing world, such as the fact that Little, Brown, and Co published a book by a woman who told her readers not to eat food comprised of chemicals.

    What should you do instead? Check out our guide to evaluating sources and remember that this is a process you should use with ALL sources.

    Image Credit: Origin of Species

    How to Read a Research Article

    Struggling to read your scientific scholarly article, even though it looks like it might be a perfect fit for your topic?

    Try using the info below as a guidepost to help you understand the article. To begin, figure out if you're reading a Research Article or a Review Article.

    Reading Research Articles

    Start by looking for the distinctive markers of a scholarly article: are the authors' degrees or university affiliations listed? Do you see an abstract? How about charts, tables, graphs?

    If you are using a scientific research article, you'll see the following distinctive sections:

    • Abstract: a paragraph summary of the research question and findings
    • Introduction: the research question: what did the scientists set out to know? Also provides context to the study: what did we know about the topic? Who answered the most important questions so far? Will include many citations.
    • Method: the experiment design
    • Results: The data gathered by the experiment
    • Discussion: analyzes the results. What do we understand about the topic after the experiment has been conducted?
    • Conclusion: lists further questions to be studied
    • References or Works Cited: functions just as yours will. What research has been referenced throughout the paper?

    Some of these sections may be merged with other sections, have slightly different names, be combined together (results and discussion often share a single section) or may not be labeled, but all should be present in one way or another.

    Confused? Take a look at page one of a scholarly research article below:

    scholarly article marked.png
    Notice the following:

    1. The authors list a university affiliation
    2. The abstract is right in the center of the page
    3. The (unmarked) introduction

    Want to take a closer look? Cladophora (Chlorophyta) spp. Harbor Human Bacterial Pathogens in Nearshore Water of Lake Michigan is a research article found on PubMedCentral, the government-sponsored free article database. You can use this as a model scholarly research article.

    Having Trouble Reading Your Article?

    • Remember to start with your abstract. The summary will tell you where the authors are heading and help you to fight through confusing sections.
    • Try reading your article out of order! (No one said we have to follow the rules all the time, right?) Start with the abstract, and skim through the Introduction and the Conclusion (Don't see one? Read the Discussion instead.) Note the hypothesis and article findings. Then read the whole article, remembering that the Materials and Methods sections are often long and full of complex concepts.
    • Be careful to be very conscious of whatever section you're reading, because that will tell you the types of info that you're reading: are you in Methods? If so, you're looking at experimental design. Are you looking through Results? If so, you're looking at the data that was gathered, etc., etc.
    • Check out this handy book that discusses reading and critiquing scholarly articles.
    • This article, "To understand a scientific paper, delve into its parts" by Bethany Brookshire (a working scientist) also does a good job of breaking down scientific articles. The second article, Four tips for reading a scientific paper, also offers great advice on how to deal with dense language, as well as important questions to ask about any article you read.
    • Remember that you can use reference databases to explain words or concepts that you're unfamiliar with. Try searching Credo or Gale to start.


    Future of Research: Health and Natural Science Workshop Series


    The Future of Research Series provides faculty with the opportunity to explore and discuss college research within the framework of 21st century student outcomes and skills. Join Health Sciences Librarian, Debra Smith, and Science Librarian, Laura Burt-Nicholas, to learn practical, time-saving and effective ways to incorporate research and evidence-based (scholarly) resources in your instruction and assignments. Attend any or all of the three 45 minute workshops.

    Want to see when these workshops might be scheduled this semester? Check out our library faculty workshop calendar.

    Questions, resource exploration and discussion are encouraged. Highlighted resources and examples are tailored to health and natural science curriculum. All sessions will be held in Library (SRC) classroom 3114

    1. Incorporating Research
    2. Incorporating Library Resources
    3. Incorporating Streaming Videos and Technology

    No Paper Necessary: Incorporating Library Research

    Why Incorporate Research?

    • You’re modeling professional behavior for students
    • Evidence-based practice (systematic reviews in academic terms) is at the core of health & natural science professions
    • Research enhances critical thinking skills
    • You’re modeling good citizenship for your students
    • Research is integral to formulating and answering “big” and “cutting edge” questions
    Daunted by the mere thought of reading 20-30 research papers per course section? FEAR NOT! Alternatives that foster research, critical thinking AND evidence-based (research-based) practice exist!

    Alternative Research Projects:

    • Focused annotated bibliographies
    • Presentations & posters
    • Worksheets (guided instruction combined with assigned reading/audio visuals)
    • Incorporate research into your flipped classroom and/or as a homework assignment
    • “Show and tell”
    Any assignment can be given as a group project teaching professional behaviors--how to collaborate/communicate/work together in a lab or clinical setting—as well as making grading more manageable.
    Creating and providing students with a rubric identifying the important concepts to be demonstrated in the assignment with point value for each assists instructors and students in assigning/understanding point distribution and final scores.

    Structuring Your Research Assignments and Questions:

    • Avoid assigning “pick a topic” papers
    • Customize your assignments:
    • Make it local
    • Make it specific
    • Use Scaffolding

    Active Learning Opportunity:

    Have an assignment that you would like to revamp? Interested in drafting a new assignment? Let’s discuss!

    See our Tip Sheet from the Workshop!

    No Paper Necessary: Incorporating Library Resources

    Not all information sources are equal

    • Each format offers specific types of information
    • Encyclopedias and dictionaries, websites, books, journals, reports, white papers, guidelines, systematic reviews, research articles
    • Assignment requirements dictate the most suitable resources
    • What students hear is not always what instructors mean

    Identifying the Right Resources for Projects

    The Library's Research Guides are starting points for researching a wide variety of topics.
    You are also encouraged to speak with your liaison librarian. (Not sure who is your liaison? Check your research guide or the COD Library's Liaison Guide!)

    Structuring Searches

    Database Name Search Tips and Tricks
    CINAHL Complete
    Science Direct Use your last name and library card to log in here.

    Active Learning Opportunity:

    • Have an assignment that you would like to revamp? Interested in drafting a new assignment? Let’s discuss!
    • Make use of this “free” time to explore Library databases and ask questions of your Library and discipline colleagues.

    See Our Tip Sheet from the Workshop!

    No Paper Necessary: Incorporating Streaming Videos & Tech In Courses

    Incorporating Streaming Videos in Courses:

    • Think of flipping your class or “switching up” how you deliver in-class content utilizing COD Library resources
    • Find and embed videos (or clips) into Blackboard shells
    • Add multimedia content inside or outside the classroom
    • Locate and utilize transcripts and/or closed captioning
    • Maximize the instructional potential of videos

    Highlighted COD Library Online Videos

    Incorporating Technology in Courses

    Take advantage of existing Online Instruction Resources and COD Campus-Wide Learning Technology support:

    Useful E-Tools:

    What Additional Resources do YOU Recommend?

    Active Learning:

    Play and explore: what skills do you teach that could stand video reinforcement? What concepts could be better illustrated with technology? Let’s see what we can find.

    See Our Tip Sheet from the Workshop!


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