Science literature is made up of primary and secondary literature, also known as scholarly literature--research reports and analysis--and tertiary literature--news, opinion, and summaries. In most cases, you should use the "most primary" source available for academic work.
Scholarly literature (primary and secondary) is mostly made up of Journal Articles, usually found through online databases from the library and scholarly web search engines like Google Scholar.
It's especially important in academic work to properly cite your references, because all scholarship is built on previous work.
Think about 2 key questions when you are creating a search:
If you've got a broad, general topic ("I need one or two articles on this general topic.") you can jump right to the search boxes and start searching.
If you have a precise topic, you can try the Search Strategy Builder below to create a very precise search. These searches can be copied into library database searches, PubMed, Google Scholar, and most other search engines.
Use general topics to search reference books like encyclopedias and dictionaries for definitions and explanatory articles.
Encyclopedias and dictionaries are best used for your own understanding of topics and concepts, not for citing in your research papers. You may also find related search terms.
Search for articles by adding your keyword search terms to the search boxes or a subject specific database. Each database has a different specialty.
Most will default to phrase searching--your search words will be looked for as an exact phrase. To break the phrases up, use the word 'and' between terms ('stomata and leaves'). For more complex searches, try the Search Strategy Builder at the bottom of the page.
Try a search or two in the general searches available below, or go the A-Z database list and choose a Subject.
EBSCO provides a lot of full text articles from journals and more. You should already be familiar with Academic Search Premier--but they have a lot more. This search is the about the same as the Articles search box on the library homepage.
Google Scholar is Google's version of a library database, including articles from publishers, universities, and research repositories. On campus, you'll see links to the 'SCSU Journal Finder' for articles that are probably in our subscription resources. When off campus, check the Google Scholar guide for instructions to set up links for our full text subscriptions.
The Search Strategy Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. While it is not a database and is not designed to input a search, you should be able to cut and paste the results into most databases’ search boxes.
Click for an example of a filled out search!
Now copy and paste the above Search Statement into a database search box; use one of the search boxes above or choose another Database.
The Search Strategy Builder was developed by the University of Arizona Libraries and is used under a Creative Commons License, via Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh at Georgia State.