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Biology: Shariff

Welcome! You'll need a College of DuPage Library card in order to use most of the resources below from off campus. If your card is not working, it may need to be reactivated.

Questions? Feel free to use my contact info to the right, stop by the Reference Desk, or contact us by email or chat.

Image Credit: dr_zoidberg, Sustainable Sunset
  1. Explore Your Subject
  2. Find Articles
  3. Use Websites
  4. APA Style

Explore Your Topic

Want to know more about Energy Usage, Transportation, Sustainability, or other topics related to biology? You'll want to start with a reference resource, which will provide you with a summary of a current topic, as well as

  • Visit CQ Researcher. This database will provide summaries of many current events, including timelines, data, pro/con websites, and important context that will help you to better understand an issue, whether it's the ecology of the Arctic, or whether investing in an electric car is a good idea. Use the Table of Contents to help guide your search.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library is an online reference database that will help to define unfamiliar terms and provide context on a variety of topics.
  • Finally, Issues and Controversies will introduce you to many different environmental controversies.

Finding Articles in Databases

Once you've gotten background knowledge on your topic, you'll want to look at library databases to discover both popular and scholarly articles on your topic. Here are the top two databases to look for information.

Academic Search Complete has a mixture of popular and scholarly articles on a variety of subjects. You'll want to be sure that you're using a source appropriate for class when searching. Confused about the difference between popular and scholarly articles? Learn more about them here.

Science Direct is a scholarly article database that provides full-text access to scholarly articles on a variety of scientific topics. A bit confused about how to read the articles you're finding there? Check out How to Read Research Articles.

Not finding what you need? You can check the full list of biology databases.

Evaluating Websites

There are websites that can provide a variety of insights into your class topics. Some of the best options are:

For topics like Energy and Sustainability, in particular, there are helpful websites that might provide data or help shape your thinking on this topic. Check out the following:

The Earth Charter initiative, which will give you some guidelines to thinking about sustainability.

Following the Earth Charter Initiative, think about changes the county might be able to make to become more sustainable. Want to investigate some data? The following sources provide some clues that might direct your thoughts:

US Department of Energy: SLED (Stats and Local Energy Data)
This site provides detailed information about energy usage, talks about buildings and efficiencies, renewable power, transportation, etc. You can look up a few cities in DuPage County by zipcode and see what recommendations the Department of Energy might have for the county.

Google Maps will show you a good physical layout of the county, from greenspace to public transportation options to whatever else you might be able to imagine.

Data USA will provide county-level data about demographics such as income, housing, and health. This database draws upon census data and was constructed by MIT.

The Chicago Metropolitan Area for Planning has a lot of good county-level data that you can use to help your county sustainability plan.

Searching On Your Own

If you search for websites on your own, you'll want to remember: when it comes to science, nearly everyone has opinions: should we be labeling genetically modified food for consumer's awareness? What will fracking do for our economy or our groundwater supply? Your job is to evaluate the information you can find through Google to find the good websites--those written by authors you can trust, with good and up-to-date information.

Authorship: Who created this website? What is their background on the topic? Are they trustworthy?

Bias: Why was the website created? What point of view does the author have? Does that limit the facts they present or how the facts are presented?

Date: How old is the information that is presented? Is it still accurate?

Questions? Check out the COD Library's guide to evaluating information.

Using APA Style

Find directions about how to cite your sources on the library citation guide.

Most databases will have a Cite link that you can also click to get article citations.

Finally, you are welcome to use NoodleBib if you'd like to use a program to create and organize your citations. You must "Create a New Folder" when you use NoodleBIB for the first time. Click on "I am citing a(n):," choose the type of item you are citing, and then fill in the online form. Your bibliography will be formatted for you.

Further questions about APA style? Check out the APA Style Blog, which includes sample papers.