Researching in the Sciences
Research in the sciences generally involves recognizing a scientific problem to be solved, setting up an experiment designed to yield useful data, and interpreting the data in the context of other scientific knowledge. Researchers use library resources to:
The large volume of scientific literature being produced can be daunting at first. However, a number of resources are available to help you find what is relevant to your research, and most of the resources are searchable by computer. When planning to search for scientific materials in the library, be prepared to:
- keep up with current thinking in the field so they can recognize a question worth asking,
- review what is known about a given phenomenon so they can place new knowledge in context, and
- locate specific information they need to successfully carry out an experiment or project.
The resources listed here are not found in every library, but the list will give you an idea of where to start. Consult a librarian to determine which resources are best for your research and whether they are available for computerized searching.
- choose your search terms carefully so that they match those used by your abstract or index,
- work from the most recent publications to earlier ones, sorting out schools of thought and lines of inquiry as you go, and
- know when to stop, bearing in mind that a literature review can't cover everything ever published on a topic but is a selection of the most important and relevant research.
Use the menu at top right to choose between information on Finding Sources or Documenting Sources within this discipline.