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A quick tutorial on reading and understanding a scientific paper, created and shared by Dr. Jennifer Raff, a research fellow in Anthropology at the University of Texas-Austin.
Find and Use Databases
When looking for articles on your topic, the best way to start is to search within article databases. The Library has access to dozens of databases, which in turn index thousands of periodicals. Many, but not all, contain the full-text of articles.
Once in a database, start with a KEYWORD search using words relevant to your topic. When you see an article that looks interesting, click on the title to see the complete citation. If there are SUBJECT TERMS or DESCRIPTORS, click on those that seem related to your topic to get other articles on the subject.
Not all databases have the full-text of articles. Some only provide citations and abstracts. Use the Look for full text with LinkSource icon to see if the full-text of the article is available in another database.
If the Library doesn't have access to a journal, you can obtain the article through interlibrary loan.
Almost all Library databases can be accessed from off-campus. The easiest way to do this is to use links from the Library website. You will then be prompted for your Centre ID and password to authenticate yourself as an authorized user.
Provides full-text and abstracts to over 2,500 journals published by Elsevier and its affiliates. ScienceDirect includes extensive coverage in science, engineering and medicine, plus many core journals in business, social sciences and humanities.
Centre College users who have not registered to use SciFinder should use this link to register for an account. Once you have submitted your registration information, you will receive an email with your link. You must click on that link within 48 hours in order to complete the registration process.
SciFinder is the electronic version of the print publication Chemical Abstracts. SciFinder comprehensively covers the world-wide literature of chemistry including journal articles, patents, conference proceedings, theses and dissertations, technical reports, government documents, etc.
Nature is a weekly international journal publishing news articles and peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology. It is now available as an online resource, with full-text access to the previous four years of subscription material. To access the full text of articles more than four years old, print copies of those journals are available in Bound Periodicals and Storage.
PubChem contains the chemical structures of small organic molecules and information on their biological activities and is searchable via PubChem Substance, PubChem Compound, PubChem Bioassay and PubChem Structure Search.
An online database of citations to biomedical and other life science literature, created by the US National Library of Medicine. Its largest component is the MEDLINE bibliographical database. PubMed Central is a digital archive of literature drawn from biomedical and life science journals and linked to the PubMed database.
Science is a peer-reviewed journal that offers scientific news and commentary, along with original research. Our online subscription provides access to the Science magazine issues from 1997-present. Ask a librarian for older issues, which Centre stores in print format.
Short, concise and critical articles offering easy-to-read overviews of basic research and applications in all areas of chemistry and biochemistry.
Review publications contain articles that review the research already done in a given area. A review article can give you a synthesis of a particular topic and provide you with an extensive bibliography.
Chemical Society Reviews publishes tutorial and critical reviews. The promotion of international and multidisciplinary awareness and co-operation is particularly encouraged. Articles of "social interest" (eg drugs in sport) are also published, giving an overview of topical areas. Tutorial reviews are written to be of relevance both to the general research chemist who is new to the field, as well as the expert, and are accessible to advanced undergraduates and beyond.