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A guide to the resources for geology and geophysics

Guide Objectives

Over the course of the semester your group will be develoing a literature review on a topic related to Early Earth.  Based on the topic that you and your group members decide on, you will want to think about the following:

  • What do you already know about your selected topic?
  • What information will you need to collect for your project?

    This guide provides strategies that you can use for collecting the information you will need to successfully complete your project.

      Popular vs Scholarly Journals

    Research vs. review articles

    Types of Scholarly Articles

    Articles are the main method of communication between scientists.  They are relatively short publications (almost always less than 50 pages and more generally around 8-12 pages). They are published in journals.  Each journal issue contains several articles.

    Scholarly Articles are peer-reviewed and can be classified as:

    Research Article (Theoretical or Experimental)  - Written for a university audience, reports original research results, either theoretical or experimental and is organized similar to a lab report. 

    Review Article - Review articles summarize the research conducted by others on a specific scientific topic.  These articles provide a good overview of a topic.   

    Other Types of Articles

    Extended Abstracts - Extended abstracts tend to be 4-5 pages in length and are papers that are presented at a conference.  Extended abstracts may or may not be peer reviewed.  

    Find Books and Journals

    Focusing your Topic

    This guide provides strategies that you can use for collecting the information you will need to successfully complete your research paper.

    Coming up with a suitable topic for your paper is hard work.  It is difficult to write about things you have very little knowledge on.  Before jumping straight into searching the web or research databases for information, allow yourself to explore general topic areas. 

      1. First, brainstorm possible topics

        • What topic(s) interest(s) you
        • Why did you choose this topic?
        • Have you learned about this topic in class?  What have you learned about this topic?  List things you know to be true, and things you are not so sure about.
        • Do you know some one who has knowledge about this topic?  What do they know about it?

      2. You will then need to find a focus for your paper.  Use sources such as your textbook, course readings or Wikipedia to learn about the details, nuances and issues related to your topic.  Try to find a review article on your topic in either Scopus or Web of Science.

      3. Review the notes that you collected, looking at the themes and issues that stood out as you did your reading.  Make a list of possible foci for your research.  Above all, chose something that you find interesting, the will meet the requirements of your assignment, that has enough information and that you have enough time to tackle.   

    Search Tips

    OR-Broadens your search strategy
    If you do a search on groundwater OR ground water OR ground-water you will find articles containing any of the search terms.

    AND - Narrows your search
    If you do a search on (salt water f
    OR seawater) AND intrusion, you will find articles that contain all the search terms.

    NOT- Eliminates certain details from your search strategy
    If you do a search on (salt water OR seawater) AND intrusion NOT abstract*, you will find articles on seawater intrusion and will remove those items which are conference abstracts only, not scientific articles. 

    Finding Scientific Articles

    Google Scholar
    Enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports across broad areas of research.  Use the Find It UofC link to connect to university subscribed online content.

    Provides comprehensive coverage of the geology and geophysics of the world.  Focus is primarily on geology and geophysics as it pertains to the geology of an area, but it also indexes articles about groundwater and soil contamination.  Covers geology back to 1785.
    Note:  You can remove conference abstracts (abstracts only) from your search results by selecting "Exclude Abstracts Only" from your search.

    An excellent interdisciplinary abstract and citation database, includes peer-reviewed titles from international publishers, Open Access journals, conference proceedings, trade publications, quality web sources.

    Web of Science
    Provides access to over 8700 journals from various disciplines from 1900-.present in the sciences and social sciences.  

    Interlibrary Loan Request Form.  - Use to request material that the University of Calgary library does not have.

    Most of the databases above link to fulltext content.  Look for the  to link to full text content.  

    Effective Citing and Writing

    Citation Style for GLGY535

    Geological Society of America (look at the Manuscript Template under Author Information)

    Critical Reading Chart

    Use the Critical Reading Chart (link below) to help you summarize and synthesize the research articles that you will be reading.  

    Citation Software

    Mendeley enables you to organize, share and discover

    Writing a Literature Review - This guide is designed for writing education and social sciences papers however the principles are the same for writing a geoscience paper.  

    Plagiarism Tutorial

    You Quote it, You Note it from Vaughan Memorial Library at Acadia University.(Requires Adobe Flash Player)

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