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Virtual Library Instruction: Research in the Sciences

Guides to teach Virtual Instruction


graphic of people's heads with science symbols


As a college student you may be asked to do research in one of the sciences (for this workshop, the sciences will include physical, biological, and psychological or social sciences). Depending on your assignment, your research may include different types of resources.  Here are some suggestions of how to start and where to go.

You need a current event in science Newspapers, magazines, credible websites
You need to do general research a topic (eg bacteria, disease, element) Books, ebooks, reference materials (encyclopedias, secondary or tertiary sources)
You need a scholarly article for an assignment Online Databases from Library's page


Know Your Sources

National Science Foundation RSS Feed

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How to Read a Scholarly Research Article

 ​Picture of Scholarly ARticle, Abstract

An abstract summarizes, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, the major aspects of the entire paper.

Parts usually include:

1) the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s)

2) the basic design of the study

3) major findings or trends found as a result of the analysis

4) a brief summary of the interpretations and conclusions.




This article can be found at 

Carlo, G., McGinley, M., Hayes, R., Batenhorst, C., & Wilkinson, J. (2007). Parenting styles or practices? Parenting, sympathy, and prosocial behaviors among adolescents. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 168(2), 147-76.

Picture of Scholarly Article, Intro and Lit ReviewThe introduction leads the reader from a general subject area to a particular topic of inquiry. It discusses the scope, context, and significance of the research being conducted by summarizing current understanding and background information about the topic, stating the purpose of the work, explaining briefly the methodological approach used to examine the research problem, highlighting the potential outcomes your study can reveal, and outlining the remaining structure and organization of the paper.


The Introduction begins after the Abstract. In this case, the Introduction also refers to other studies in the research area and serves as a Review of the Literature.




PIcture of Scholarly Article Methods Section

The methods section will describe the research design and methodology used to complete to the study.  The general rule of thumb is that readers should be provided with enough detail to replicate the study.​

You will find information about 

  • participants
  • measures and scales, which include surveys, inventories, and questionnaires
  • conditions of tests

PIcture of Scholarly ARticle, resultsIn this section, the results of the analysis are presented.  How the results are presented will depend upon whether the research study was quantitative or qualitative in nature.  This section should focus only on results that are directly related to the research or the problem. Graphs and tables should only be used when there is too much data to efficiently include it within the text.  This section should present the results, but not discuss their significance.

Picture of Scholarly Article, Discussion SectionThis section should be a discussion of the results and the implications on the field, as well as other fields. The hypothesis should be answered and validated by the interpretation of the results.  This section should also discuss how the results relate to previous research mentioned in the literature review, any cautions about the findings, and potential for future research.

Picture of Scholarly ARticle, author notes sectionThis section establishes the credibility of the authors. 

The Author Notes can be at the end or the very beginning of the article, either before or after the Abstract.

Picture of Scholarly Article, referencesThe research paper is not complete without the list of references. This section should be an alphabetized list of all the academic sources of information utilized in the paper.  The format of the references will match the format and style used in the paper, such as APA or MLA.

Psychology Web Resources

All-in-One Search


 Databases | Classic Catalog | Remote Access | Help                                


 Databases | Classic Catalog | Remote Access | Help                                


 Databases | Classic Catalog | Remote Access | Help                                


 Databases | Classic Catalog | Remote Access | Help                                

Links to Science Research Guides

Reputable Science Magazines and Websites - General Research

Pics of Beakers

Ebooks for Science

Cover of Principles of Biology Cover of Principles of Physical Science

Science Books in Print

Recommended Databases

It's All About the Keywords

The key to a successful search is keywords. You will have to see what combination of keywords gives you the best results.

For example in the Health and Medical Collection 

  • the keywords "opioid use" give you 11,353 results. Note the keywords "opioid use" are in quotations to hold the words together. Without the quotes you'll get almost 70,000 results.
  • "opioid use" AND prescription gives you 5,006 results. Note the AND is in all caps. That is a Boolean Search term and tells the search machine in the database that you only want records that contain BOTH terms.
  • To further narrow you can add more words such as "opioid use" AND prescription AND heroin.
  • If you aren't certain of the search terms you can use OR. Such as "opioid use" or "opioid abuse" (14,148 results)
  • If you are getting results you don't want, try a NOT. For example, "opioid use" NOT prescription (6,347 results)

Transitions Workshop Survey

Link to the Transitions Workshop Survey