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Science Research in Depth: General Guide: Welcome

A research guide to help you with that first biology, chemistry, physics, or environmental science research assignment. Offers explanations about science research in general and where to go when Perimeter College's libraries are not enough.


diagram of an atomWelcome

If your biology, chemistry, physics, earth, or environmental science professor has assigned a project, or if you have a strong interest in technical topics, this is the guide for you. Whether your assignment is to  find an article and summarize it, create a  PowerPoint or poster presentation, or write a traditional five to ten page term paper, these pages  can point your research in the right direction.

This guide covers finding:

  • Scholarly articles in databases, both those available through library databases as well as those available through free resources on the web.

  • Books at both the Georgia State University and the University System of Georgia with GILFind.

  • Selected science web sites.

  • The correct format for citing your sources.

  • Material in other libraries' collections.

Science Research is Different

Science Research is Differentdiagram of a plant cell

Even if you have written papers for English and/or communication,  research for science projects is different:

  1. Primary literature has a different meaning in the sciences. Scientists  refer to published articles that describe actual research as primary literature. This means that what humanities scholars call secondary sources  is primary literature in the sciences.

  2. Newer is better. Most scientific information is time sensitive and always changing as knowledge grows. This means that for many fields (Geology, mathematics, and history of science are exceptions.), the most current articles are the most accurate and useful.

  3. Open access means that some scholarly science journals, mainly in medical biology and in physics, are freely available on the web. Open access occurs when there is strong competition between publishers and/or government intervention.

  4. Copyright effects access. If journal articles are not freely available due to open access, they are locked down due to copyright. This means you can only find them through library databases and subscriptions.

  5. Reciprocal privileges expand your horizons. Because Perimeter College at Georgia State is a community college, we do not have many of the major science databases or the core journals in fields such as chemistry, cell biology, or ecology. Fortunately, you have privileges at other University System of Georgia Institutions including Georgia State's Atlanta campus and Georgia Tech. You can learn more about reciprocal access on the Other Libraries page of this guide.