Biology 1120: Fancher

Welcome! Click on a tab below to find books, articles, and websites for use in this course.

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: Darryl Leja, NHGRI
  1. Find A Topic
  2. Find Books
  3. Find Articles
  4. Evaluate Websites
  5. MLA

Finding (and Narrowing) a Topic

Genetics is a big field and in order to work on a successful paper, you'll need to narrow down to something that interests you. 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:

Finding Books

Want to find a book (print or electronic), a DVD, or articles? Check out the library catalog. Enter at least two search terms. Be sure to look at the menu on the left side of the screen to narrow down your research. You can also try browsing in the QH 430 section of the library.

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Finding Articles in Databases

When you have a focused search (at least two search terms) and know that you need scholarly articles, it can be easier to search separate databases rather than the catalog.

Just like searching the catalog, be sure to use at least two search terms and evaluate the date of the information you're looking at. Is using an 10 year old article about Trisomy 18 OK? How about 20 years old? You'll want to think about whether our knowledge of the condition has advanced, and other information such as whether you're looking at a seminal (groundbreaking) article that everyone else cites. If you're ever unsure, check with your professor.

Sources for general topics:

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.

1. Use at least two keywords.
2. Think about the kind of resources you want: scholarly journals or not?
3. Check your date range to be sure you're looking at information in the right range.

ASC Bio 1120 search.PNG

Academic OneFile is a great place to find a mixture of scientific and popular articles as well. Just like in Academic Search premier, make sure that you're using a good source for this project while searching.

Science Direct: Indexing and full-text of 175 journals in science, chemistry, earth science, biology and other related disciplines. (Be sure to select "Subscribed Journals" from the Source drop-down menu.)

1. Type in at least two search terms
2. Select "Subscribed Journals"
3. Think about the date range for your project.

SD bio 1120.PNG

Sources for medical topics:

Medline: Complete National Library of Medicine database. This is primarily an index database, so get ready to look for journal

Medline Plus: Consumer Health MEDLINEplus has extensive information from the National Institutes of Health and other trusted sources on over 600 diseases and conditions.

Still not finding what you need?

See the full list of biology databases.
See the full list of health/medicine databases.

Find an article from a citation:

Not finding the article you want in full-text online? Start by checking our journal locator to be sure that the article isn't just in another of our databases. Type in the journal name to see if we have access to the journal, and if so, for which dates.

For journal articles, bibliographic citations in the chemical literature tend to give abbreviated titles. Talk to Laura if you need help finding the full journal title when requesting an article. Guide to chemistry journal abbreviations from University of British Columbia will be helpful.

Still not finding the article you need? See the library's interlibrary loan page for information about how to request an article.

Evaluating Websites

While you're doing Google searches to either narrow your topic or in order to dig up more information on certain subject, you want to be careful to decide if the information you find is trustworthy.

When it comes to science, nearly everyone has opinions: are we getting enough Vitamin D? What will fracking do for our economy or our groundwater supply? Your job is to evaluate the information you can find through Google and Bing 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 your professor's guide to evaluating information.

Want to be sure to use good websites? Take a look at my list of genetics sites in Delicious.

Class Exercise

Take a moment to look at your website. Is this information trustworthy? How do you know? Be prepared to tell your classmates your opinion.

Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?
Why Should You Oppose Genetically Modified Foods?
The Genetically Modified Debate: Where do We Begin?
20 Questions on Genetically Modified Food

What is Cloning?
Human Cloning Foundation
Woolly Mammoth DNA May Lead to a Resurrection of the Ancient Beast

MLA Citation Style

Start by heading to the library citation guide.

The Purdue OWL website has an excellent MLA guide that will give you common citation formats.


Biology icon
Welcome to the Genetics Research Guide.

Click on a tab below to find books, videos, articles, and websites for use in Biology and Genetics classes.

If you need additional help, stop by the Reference Desk or contact a reference librarian: Ask A Librarian.

  1. Books & Videos
  2. Databases and Journals
  3. Websites

Finding Books

Use the COD Library catalog to find books & videos. Click on the "keyword" tab to search using multiple search terms and limit your results by material type (book, video), date, or language. You'll need a current College of DuPage Library card to check out books.

Reference Works

Reference works, such as dictionaries and encyclopedias are useful for learning about background information on a topic
Please note that print reference books may be used while in the library only. Online reference books may be accessed from any on or off-campus computer. You'll need a College of DuPage Library card to access online books and articles from off-campus.
Click on the links below to access the online book/website or record/description of the print book.


The Library owns many films on Genetics Topics in DVD, VHS and streaming formats. These are listed within the Biology AV guide. Check the list of titles at:

See Genetic Disorders under Health and Health Issues in the Health & Diseases Video Guide

The Library subscribes to many databases that provide access to thousands of popular and credible, scholarly journals. Many databases provide access to full-text articles, while some provide information about the article only (citation). Request (for free!) through Interlibrary Loan copies of articles to which the Library doesn't have full-text access.

Access the article databases listed below.

Best Bet links: Databases and Journal Holdings

  • Academic Search Complete
    Multidisciplinary database covering a wide range of academic areas.
  • Academic OneFile
    Multidisciplinary database covering a wide range of academic areas.
  • Knovel Library
    This database is a cross-searchable collection of electronic books covering many subjects in technology, engineering, applied technology, science, chemistry and physics and much more.
  • Science Direct
    Full-text of hundreds of scientific journals from the publisher Elsevier. Be sure to select "Subscribed Journals" from the Source drop-down menu.
  • Scientific American Archives Online
    Indexing of every issue of Scientific American. PDFs of every article from 1993 to present.
  • Health Research Databases
  • Issues and Controversies
    Issues and Controversies helps students understand crucial issues we face today, exploring more than 800 hot topics in science, health, the environment and more.
  • CQ Researcher
    The CQ Researcher offers in-depth, non-biased coverage of today's most important issues. Each report is on a single topic more than 12,000 words in text and extensive bibliographies. Each weekly issue provides up-to-date information on controversial subjects reported by CQ's staff of experienced reporters.
  • List of Genetics journals available online fulltext from databases.
  • How to Read a Research Article
  • Websites

    • DNA From the Beginning
      The key concepts of DNA, genes and heredity explained using animations, images and text..
    • DNA Learning Center
      Interactive presentations on basic genetics, the history of DNA, genetic disorders and more from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
    • Genetics Education Center
      Although primarily for teachers, gives many useful links to genetics websites.
    • Genetics Home Reference: Your Guide to Understanding Genetic Conditions.
      From the National Library of Medicine, a layperson's guide to genetic conditions and the genes or chromosomes that are responsible for these conditions.
      Detailed information on the Human Genome Project. Microbial Genome Project, ethical issues, and medical considerations of genome studies from the Genome Programs of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.
    • Learn.Genetics: Genetic Science Learning Center
      Basic explanations of many aspects of genetics and biotechnology, from the University of Utah.
    • Lynn Fancher's Biology Bookmarks
      Extensive links to biology gateway sites, as well as internet sites for specific areas of biology.
    • MEDLINEplus
      Provides access to 700 health topics, medical encyclopedias and dictionaries, and links to self-help groups, clinical trials, preformulated PubMed searches, lists of hospitals and physicians health and information in Spanish and other languages.
    • MendelWeb
      Mendel's classic paper on genetics, along with history and commentary.
    • National Center for Biotechnology Information
      Links to biomedical and genetics information sites on the web from the National Institutes of Health. Links for genomes, genetics and medicine, gene expression and more are organized on this site.
    • Scitable
      Scitable is a free science library from Nature Publishing Group. Essays and illustrations on important topics in genetics and cell biology (with links to Nature journal articles), career information and more are provided.
    • The Virtual Library: Biosciences
      Extensive list of links to valuable websites in many areas of the biological sciences, including genetics and biotechnology.
    • Yahoo's Genetics Links.
      Useful links to general genetics sources, with subcategories such as cloning, genetic engineering, and human genetics.

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