Skip to main content

BIOL 2873: Ecology Lab

Research Guide

Finding Non-Scholarly Materials on the Web

Web searching can be good for:

  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Background info
  • Articles describing research in non-scholarly language
  • Vocabulary relating to topic, useful keywords, synonyms to broaden your search

 

What is meant by “Scholarly?”

Scholarly journals are periodicals for specialized readership (also known as peer reviewed or refereed journals)

  • contain articles written by scholars or experts in a field of study, describing "cutting edge" research
  • articles are "peer reviewed" or "refereed," as a quality control mechanism
  • articles have footnotes (or endnotes) and references
  • give the affiliation of the authors (university, research institution),
  • in the sciences and the social sciences each article also has an abstract.

 

Finding Scholarly Articles

Google Scholar

  • This is a full text search, so you may get too many irrelevant hits.
  • Use the Advanced search to search titles only (allintitle:), but you may not get enough hits.
  • Go to Settings – Library Links to enable eLink@Columbia, which makes it easy to find full text in various databases
  • If you can’t find the full-text via e-link because we don’t have the journal at Columbia, go to Interlibrary Loan at library.columbia.edu/find/request/ill.html
  • To cite the article in various citation styles, click on the quotation marks.
  • Sample searches:
    • intraspecific competition in plants
    • “intraspecific competition” in plants
    • allintitle:“intraspecific competition” in plants
    • “intra-specific competition” in plants

 

Web of Science (All Databases)

  • Useful for determining how many articles have cited another article. You can sort the results by “Times Cited” to find out which articles are the most influential.
  • Use Web of Science – All Databases
  • You can sort the results by “Times Cited” to find out which articles are the most influential.
  • You can refine your results by Document Type (e.g. Review articles)
  • Use truncation to find various endings – fertil* finds fertile, fertility, and fertilization
  • Use “quotes” to search for a phrase
  • Sample searches:
    • intraspecific or “intra-specific” on first line, competition on second line, plants on third line
    • Using truncation: intraspecific or “intra-specific” on first line, compet* on second line, plant*on third line

 

EndNote

  • Columbia has a subscription to EndNote and EndNote Web (“EndNote” by itself means the desktop version).
  • To download the desktop version, go to the Reference & Citation Management page on the CUL website
  • To register for an EndNote Web account, go to endnote.com, click on “LOGIN” at the top, then “create an account.”
  • See the EndNote guide on the library website

 

Hands-On Exercises

  • Set up an EndNote Web account at endnote.com.
  • Also open EndNote Desktop. Go to File –New to set up a new group, and call it Ecology.
  • Search for the topic allelopathy and “inhibition of seed” in these two databases: Google Scholar and Web of Science. (Use CLIO to find the link to Web of Science.)
  • Answer the following questions.
  • Google Scholar
    • How many results do you find? ________
    • Use allintitle: to limit the search to the title only. How many results are there? ______
    • Go back to the previous list of results, and limit to articles from 2010 to 2015. How many results are there? ________
    • Export two citations to EndNote.
  • Web of Science–All Databases
    • How many results do you find? ________
    • Sort the list by Times Cited – highest to lowest. How many times has the most-cited article been cited? _______
    • Limit the search to Document Type: Review
    • Use Search History to go back to the previous list of results, and export two citations to EndNote