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BIOL 2650: Neuroscience (Schoenfeld): Research Paper Strategies

Resources for Professor Schoenfeld's Neuroscience course (BIOL 2650).

Database Search Tips

Quotation Marks vs. AND vs.OR

Before building a search, think about how you want to combine your search terms.

  • Putting words in quotation marks - if you want to search for a phrase rather than individual words, place the words in quotation marks. Example: "cell signaling"
  • Using AND to combine search terms -  when you combine terms using AND, you will retrieve results in which both terms appear somewhere in the fields searched. Example: Cell AND Signaling
  • Using OR to combine search terms - use OR to search for either word, which can broaden your results Example "cell attitude" OR "cell behavior"

A Nod to the Asterisk

  • Using an asterisk (*) at the end of a word will bring back variations of the word.
  • Example: cell* will retrieve results with the words cell, cellular, cellulose, etc.

Subject Headings

If your database results aren't what you expect, try searching the subject heading thesaurus to find which words the database uses & use them in your search. The thesaurus can also help by suggesting, broader, narrower and related terms. Below is where you can find it in PsycARTICLES

APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms

Research Article Trifecta

The Research Trifecta

Scholarly Journals - FAQ

Publications which include articles written by experts in their field of study. After conducting experiments & reviewing other literature on the topic, they submit their article to a scholarly journal, which is then reviewed intensly by a group of experts who determine whether the article can be published. This process can take up to two years.

Nothing! All three are just different names for scholarly journals.

Ask these questions when reviewing an article:

  • Does it have an an abstract, or summary, of the article?

  • Are Footnotes/References included?

  • Does the journal it's published in have an editorial board & review process for submissions?

  • Does it include language, or jargon, specific to the subject and field of study?

  • Is there a sections that includes original research or experimentation results?

  • Are the author's credentials listed show they are expert scholars (PhD, Dr)?

  • Was it published by a professional organization (American Medical Association's Journal of the American Medical Association, the National Council on Family Relations' Journal of Marriage and the Family)?

Library databases allow you to limit your search results to scholarly journals.

  • Trade Journal: typically from professional organizations in a specific field, but no peer review process. They are a great way to find out current issues and practices in a specific field.
  • Popular magazines: like Time, Newsweek, Vogue or Sports Illustrated. These articles are written by journalists and are for the general public.

Starting your Research Paper