Research & Documentation Online 5th Edition

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

  • keep up with current thinking in the field so they can identify questions worth asking
  • review what is known about a given phenomenon so they can place new knowledge in context
  • locate specific information they need to successfully carry out an experiment or a project

The massive 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. Students planning to search for scientific materials should be prepared to

  • choose search terms carefully so that they match those used by the sources
  • work from the most recent publications to earlier ones, sorting out schools of thought and lines of inquiry
  • know when to stop, when they have uncovered a selection of the most important and relevant research for their topic

The resources listed here will give you an idea of where to start. Consult a librarian to determine which resources are best for your research.

Use the menu at the top left for help with Finding Sources or Documenting Sources in the sciences.