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
Finding (and Narrowing) a Topic
Have a glimmer of a topic that you'd like to work on? Great! You'll want to work to narrow that topic a bit before you dive into the catalog and databases, or you will be swamped with results. You can try the following strategies to narrow a topic:
- Visit CQ Researcher, a library database that summarizes current events into massive PDFs.
- Gale Virtual Reference Library has got great entries on many of your topics.
- A Google news search can give you headlines from around the world on topics like "invasive species Illinois."
Still Drawing a Blank?
The College of DuPage library has several print magazines/journals that you can browse through for inspiration. For example, try looking at headlines in:
- American Forests
- Mother Earth News
Once you know your topic, head to the library catalog, where you'll find print and electronic books, DVDs, CDs, and many other types of items.
- Since you've done your background research in a reference source (such as CQ Researcher, Gale Virtual Reference library, etc), try to search using at least two keywords.
- Check the format column on the left to make sure that you're getting the kinds of items you want
- Click on Availability to see where to find an item.
Take a moment to look through the results. Notice that if your search is focused enough, most of your books should be in the same call number range. Head over to the shelf and start exploring.
If your search results aren't focused, click on the title of the book that best matches your research topic and look at subject terms listed. Click on the subject that most closely matches your interest to see if you can further narrow your search.
Finding Articles in Databases
Scientific research can be best found in academic databases. 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.
You can also skim through a couple of major popular science magazines online in order to find your first article:
Not finding what you want here? See the full list of biology databases.
There are many different ways to find good images for your presentations. You can try the following places for good images:
Science Direct has an image search. You can type your topic into the search box and select videos and images:
Find directions about how to cite your sources in APA Style on the library citation guide.
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.