Biology 224: Ecology

Suggested Databases:

Useful Tricks:

  • Construct searches differently in library databases vs. Google tools
  • Use AND to connect keywords or key phrases in the scholarly databases, ex. "caddisflies and ecosystem"
  • Also in scholarly databases, use the truncation symbol (an asterisk *) to look up all variations of a word at once, ex. "biodivers*"
  • Use quotation marks around key phrases, this is particularly important in Google Scholar, ex. "patch dynamics"

Review vs. Primary Articles:

  • Based on the abstract, which of the following is a review article and which is a primary/empirical article? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each?
    • Is Habitat Fragmentation Good for Biodiversity?
    • Experimental Effects of Habitat Fragmentation on Rove Beetles and Ants Patch Area or Edge?

Finding More:

  • Look at the keywords and key phrases used in relevant articles
  • Citation mining
    • Backward – look at the bibliography of a relevant article. LOOK AT THE ARTICLE "Is Fragmentation Good for Biodiversity?" FIND THE FULL TEXT. WHAT IS THE FIRST CITED ARTICLE THAT WOULD BE RELEVANT TO OUR SAMPLE TOPIC?
    • Forward – Use Google Scholar to see who has cited a relevant article. HOW MANY TIMES HAS THE "Experimental Effects of Habitat Fragmentation" ARTICLE BEEN CITED?
  • Author searching – Search an author’s name limited to the Author field to see what else he or she has written. IN MEDLINE, DO AN AUTHOR SEARCH FOR THE FIRST AUTHOR OF THE "Experimental Effects of Habitat Fragmentation" ARTICLE, HOW MANY DO YOU FIND?

Government Papers:

Reading & Synthesizing Strategies

  • EndNote Basic can help you keep track of your sources. You can take notes directly in EndNote.
  • Label your article printouts with hashtags highlighting the main ideas as they relate to your research question. You can write those hashtags on index cards to help you look for trends across multiple articles. Those index cards can also help you create an outline for your paper.
  • Create index cards for questions you still have to find information about in order to write your paper, then look for articles that address those questions.

Tip: Taking organized, paraphrased notes in addition to your highlighted article saves time and energy in the long run

By the end of class, use the following link to go to a short survey to tell us what you plan to research: BIO 224 Survey