Welcome to the Boston College Libraries Libguide for CH 107: Chemistry for the Life Sciences. Resources and techniques listed were chosen especially for this class.
More BC Research Guides
Try the Boston College Libraries' General Science Research Guide to find many additional resources that might be useful for this class.
Try Libguides.bc.edu for many more research guides created for the Boston College community.
Quick Introduction to the Research Process
You need to find information on mercury emissions as a component of air pollution ... Here is one approach to this process:
1. Do some background reading to make sure that you understand the basics of your topic and to collect (and understand) useful terms for searching. The better your understanding of the terminology (and how it relates), the better your chances of retrieving relevant articles.
2. Look in Holmes for books that cover your topic -- books may be broader in scope, and include a chapter on your topic, or they may be focused in detail on your topic. Look at the Holmes search tips on the Find It at BC page of this guide. Books (often called "monographs") can be a great way of strengthening your understanding.
3. Look for Review Articles on your topic. Review articles summarize what is known about a given topic, written by an expert. These are widely used in the sciences, by both specialists and non-specialists. These articles are not reporting on original research results, but are surveying the results of many earlier studies.
4. As you start learning, see if you can construct the outlines of an introduction to the topic. What might you want to know about mercury emissions? Here are just a few possible questions to get you started:
- How big a problem is it?
- What are common causes/sources?
- What's the chemistry behind this?
- What's so bad about mercury emissions?
- Is it getting worse?
- What can be done to lessen mercury in the atmosphere?
5. Using these questions and the terms you've collected, now try searching for articles about your topic. Try one of the Boston College Libraries' journal article databases selected for this course -- these provide quality/reliable information, and you won't be overwhelmed by millions of hits. (On the same page, see the box listing techniques for better search results.) Find It at BC will help you in tracking down the full-text of the articles you identify.
6. As you keep searching, you'll be learning more about your topic -- use the new terms and new connections that you uncover to do more searching -- often you will find things that you didn't find the first time through.
8. As you find interesting articles and other references, organize/manage them in your personal database. RefWorks can be a great way to manage your references so that you can find them when you need them. Use RefWorks when you're writing your paper to insert footnotes in the text and to create a bibliography when you're done.
9. Finally, just like you need to use APA or MLA styles when writing papers for other courses, chemistry has its own style guidelines.
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