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Science Senior Seminar: Searching Your Topic

This guide will help students and faculty locate library resources and websites for your Senior Seminar paper.

Conducting Research

So you found a topic, now what?

You may need to adjust your topic if you don't find the necessary resources for your paper. Communicating with your mentor is key here; make sure you talk to them often about your topic so you can stay on track.

Your next step is to try and find some research articles and/or books that are relevant to your topic. Use these resources to conduct your research:

You're getting too many/too few results when you search:

One of the hardest parts about finding resources is figuring out which words to use when you search a journal database or the library catalog. Here a few tips and resources that can help:

  • Picking the right resource and/or database makes all the difference
    • Library databases cover specific subject areas, so looking for food science topics in a philosophy database can prove useless. Try some of the databases that are grouped by subject to make sure you're starting in the right place.
    • Databases can differ widely, so review the Help section to see if there are techniques specific to that database that you need to use. For example, medical/nursing databases have specific subject headings that can be used to find resources.
  • Try using Boolean searching techniques to narrow or widen your results list.
  • If you find an article or book of interest, take a look at the subject headings used to catalog the book and see if there are other words there you can use.
    • Additionally, don't forget to look at the references cited in the article. You may find some fantastic articles there you can use.