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The purpose of this guide is to recommend print and electronic resources for conducting research in Science Communication in the Library. Click on the tabs beside for suggestions about starting your research, getting books and articles, and finding other useful tools for research in Science Communication
To learn more about the library and its resources and how you can exploit them to your advantage, register in the Research Skills Tutorial on D2L. There are several sections in the tutorial with a short quiz at the end of each; at the end you will receive a Certificate of Completion. Many professors require you to take this tutorial--and once you finish it, you can save your certificate to reprint as often as necessary.
We can hold special classes at the request of at least 5 students. If you would like to arrange a special class, or you think your course would benefit from some in-class library instruction, please ask your professor to contact the librarian responsible for your faculty to set up some sessions.
In the library: The Library User Assistance Desk to your immediate left as you enter the library is a good place to start.
By email: Email the librarian responsible for your faculty for a reply during regular working hours.
Research consultations: Book a research consultation with the librarian responsible for your faculty by Zoom or phone.
For Distance Education students: Telephone: 1-800-661-1058, ext. 2 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick Tips on Preparing for Research
Before you start:
- understand the key terms you may be using as well as the general area that interests you;
- think about ways to narrow your topic, making it as specific as possible (unless you have been given a specific topic to research!);
- create a thesis statement;
- list the main concepts (key words) included in your thesis statement (research question), then based on your readings;
- find as many synonyms as you can for each main concept. You are now ready to start searching in the library's catalogue and databases.
When you are looking for definitions or if you don’t know much about a specific subject, reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias become invaluable because they contain relatively short—and understandable—articles. These articles often lay out the parameters of a subject and can assist you in trying to narrow your topic. Often such articles are accompanied by lists of readings (bibliographies) which allow you to explore your topic further.
Searching the Catalogue
The catalogue is your primary tool for finding books in the J.N. Desmarais Library. You can also use the catalogue to find other materials, including government publications and journals (including individual articles).
You can search the catalogue by:
- Call Number
When you know the book you are searching for, pick Title or Author; when you are searching for a topic, start with Keyword unless you know the exact Subject heading describing your topic.
More on searching the Catalogue is available in Module 5 of the Research Skills Tutorial in D2L.
E-books are located in two different places:
- Some may be located by using the library’s catalogue and selecting "Books & eBooks" as the "Material Type" and then further filtering your results by "Available online".
- E-books can also be located by searching in e-book collections. Searching in these collections is the same as searching in a database.
In addition to books, you may wish to search for book-length Master's theses or Ph.D dissertations.
Best bet: Dissertations and Theses (ProQuest).
If you are also looking for recent theses or dissertations produced by Laurentian graduates, check out our Research Repository - LUZONE. Note that since 2013, before graduation all Masters and Doctoral candidates MUST deposit their theses or dissertations in this repository.
Articles: Quick Tips
The databases to the right provide references to many scholarly journal articles and papers.
- Start off with keyword searches expressing your topic. Keyword searching crosses all fields.
- Use Search Operators such as "OR" and "AND" to expand or reduce your results.
- Review those items that look relevant, then, exploit the details within those entries to help lead you to other relevant articles.
- Pay attention to the subject headings (often called "descriptors") to see how the database describes your topic and use them to find related articles.
- Find other papers written by the same author; these will typically be on similar subjects.
- Follow citation trails: other articles that have cited this article will probably be on a related subject and will include citations to other articles of interest.
- For more Secrets of Searching a Database, review that section in How to Research Like a Librarian.
Peer Review is the evaluation of creative work by scholars in the same field in order to maintain or enhance the quality of the work in that field.
In the case of peer reviewed journals, which are usually academic, peer review generally refers to the evaluation of the articles in them prior to publication. For more, check out this definition of peer review.
- To ascertain whether a journal is peer reviewed, consult Ulrichsweb.
Getting Articles @ Laurentian
In any database, when you see an article that interests you, click on it and, unless the article is available within the database itself, within the record you will see an image that says "Get it @ Laurentian":
When you click on that, you will arrive at a menu which will lead to an electronic copy of the article you want, or, if not available electronically, to Laurentian's catalogue which will allow you to check if the article is available in print in the library, and if not, to a final link which allows you to order the item through Interlibrary loan.
- Audacity Audacity is a free audio editor and recorder available for Windows®, Mac®, GNU/Linux®; and other operating systems.
- Canadian Science Writers' Association
- CompassBlogs Based in the US, this organization's vision is "to see more scientists engage, and engage effectively, in the public discourse about the environment. Through trainings, coaching, and real-world connections, we empower researchers to build the communications skills, networks, and relationships they need to realize this vision.
- Evidence for Democracy (E4D) is the leading fact-driven, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization promoting the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making in Canada. Through research, education and issue campaigns, we engage and empower the science community while cultivating public and political demand for evidence-based decision-making
- The Evolving Culture of Science Engagement This group of scientists and science communicators held a conference in 2013, and put together a report about the next steps of science engagement research, including key themes like humour, art, emotion, and storytelling.
- National Association of Science Writers Promotes "good science writing" among its 2,000 members. Featured articles on the site (for instance, "Coming soon to this planet: More of us") touch into issues relevant to science writers and bloggers. A Twitter feed, ripe with science-y links and hashtags, is available on the homepage and more than a dozen writer resources are on display.
- National Public Radio Archive of shows and podcasts from National Public Radio. News and current interest, interviews, etc.
- Science: I Choose You. A blog by a passionate Canadian
- ScienceBorealis. An inclusive digital science salon featuring Canadians blogging about a wide array of scientific disciplines. Science Borealis is a one-stop shop for the public, media, educators, and policy makers to source Canadian science information.
- Science Media Centre of Canada is a registered charitable organization that supports journalists writing about the sciences, engineering and technology.
- Scientific Communication at The Conversation Australian site with articles written by academics on the subject of Science Communication
- Social Media Examiner Offering a unique single source of knowledge, the site contains comprehensive articles and videos on how to use the best social media tools, along with original case studies, reviews of the latest industry research and advice direct from the world’s leading experts." - Society for New Communications Research.
- SoundBible.com SoundBible.com has thousands of free sound effects for everyone. Browse the sound library and pick and choose the sounds you want. Sounds are updated 3x a week or more.
Need a Film Not in Laurentian's Online Collections?
Consult: Watmedia (Provincial Multi-media Catalogue). Material held by Laurentian may be signed out in the library. To order a film not available at Laurentian, please email LUFilmLibrary@laurentian.ca and specify the date(s) you require the item.
Questions: Please contact Ashley Thomson who manages the Intrafilm Project.
Zotero is a FREE web-based citation manager that will allow you to:
- Directly import references from article databases, the library catalogue, e-book collections, etc.
- Manage and organize your references.
- Create a bibliography.
- Share your references with others
- Add in-text citation and a bibliography directly into your assignment
Getting started with Zotero:
- Sign up for library workshop when available.
- View Quick Start Guide (video) or Tutorials (videos)
- Consult one of Zotero's own User Guides or McMaster University's Quick Start Guide or the Zotero Guide by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology