Skip to main content

FTS: Think Like a Scientist: Start

Background Information Sources

These books are in the Reference Section on the main floor, Beck side. They'll be useful for definitions, explanations, and overviews.

Food Politics

The latest blog posts by Marion Nestle, who spoke at the Nobel Conference some years ago.

Loading ...

Kinds of Sources

"Sources are people talking to people"

There are (at least) two ways to find information.

  • The Google way - put key words into a search engine, catalog, or database and see what turns up. This seems quick and efficient, but can overwhelm you with choices.
  • Following connections from one expert to another - when you find a good source, it may well point you to other sources. In a way, you're becoming part of a big conversation and your voice matters! The trick in following connections is getting your hands on the books and articles they wrote.

Libraries also use a third way - classification. Once you find a book in the catalog and note its call number, you'll find it is shelved with other books on the same subject. The shelving system is old and odd, but it still helps you browse by general category. College libraries don't use the Dewey Decimal system; they use the one the Library of Congress uses. But it's the same concept.

Tracing Cited Sources

Once you see a reference that looks good, how do you get your hands on it? Here's a quick checklist.

  • Is the reference to a book? Search the title of the book in the library catalog.
  • Is the reference to a chapter or essay in a book? Check the book title in the library catalog (not the title of the essay).
  • Is the reference to a journal article? Search for the title of the journal in the Journals List (not the title of the article).
  • Did you strike out? Request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
  • Not sure what it is? Ask at the reference desk (or send me an email).

 

Digging Deeper

Books

There may be books in the general collection of the library you can use to pursue your questions They tend to go into more depth and specificity than reference books and may be written for a specialist or a general audience.. Search our catalog on the library's main page to see what books we have or to borrow books from other libraries. There is a useful set of filters on the left-hand side after you do a search. You might want to limit a search to books published in the last 10 years, for example.

Articles

Some articles are included in the same database as our books, but there are additional databases that are more in-depth and sometimes focused on a particular discipline like nursing or medicine.

We're From the Government ...

. . . and we really do want to help you. The federal government funds a great deal of medical research and provides non-specialized information for citizens - some of which Gary Taubes argues is simply wrong.

Some of these sites may be useful to you when researching health information or finding out how it is presented to the public by the Department of Agriculture and other agencies.

Librarian

Barbara Fister's picture
Barbara Fister
Contact:
I'm happy to meet to discuss your research in my office, over coffee, or wherever it's convenient for you.

Office: Library Lower Level (facing Beck Hall)
email: fister@gustavus.edu
phone: x7553
Website

How Do I Get Stuff From Other Libraries?

If you're in the library catalog or one of our databases, it's usually pretty easy. In our catalog, choose to search libraries worldwide, click on the title of the book you want, and scroll down to find the "request it" button. In a database, if the full text isn't there, click on Find It and it should give you either the full text of the article through another database or an option to request it.

Sometimes, though, you looked for an article using the "do we have this journal?" link and - nope, we don't. You can put that citation into a blank form. Click on My Library Account on the library's main page and log in.

Then click on your name and choose My ILL Requests - and then click on Create Request. You'll get an email when it arrives.

 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License