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Geological Sciences: Research Tips and Assistance

Research Assistance

Schedule a research consultation with your librarian, Tom Melvin by e-mailing These sessions can be conducted in-person, via e-mail, using online chat, or by phone.

To Find an Article

Once you have identified the articles you want, there are several ways to find the articles you want.

If you are still in the database, use GetIt! or a "Full Text" button to link to the article.  There are directions elsewhere on this page for using GetIt!

If you have a citation, use DELCAT or search the Electronic Journal box on the Library's homepage.  In both cases, search by the title of the journal, NOT the title of the article.

    Gathering and Saving Citations

    Use RefWorks to save citations and create a bibliography and footnotes in seconds!

    Log on to RefWorks

    Good Search Strategies Make a Difference


    The most important step is defining your topic.  Try writing it out in a sentence or as a question.  You may start your research with one sentence or question and modify it as you search.  Defining your topic and conducting a good search are often an interative process.


    Brainstorm possible search terms
    Using your topic sentence, break up long phrases into separate ideas and search terms. 
    • Topic sentence or question: Is carbon sequestration a good option for mitigating global warming?
    • Search terms: carbon sequestration and global warming

    Think of synonyms or related terms

    • geologic storage, carbon sink,
    • greenhouse gases, air pollution, climate change, global warming

    AND, OR, NOT

    Use logical operators AND, OR, or NOT to combine your terms.  Use quotation marks to keep words adjacent during your search. Use the truncation symbol  * to retrieve various forms of the same word (for example sequest* will retrieve sequester, sequestration, and sequestered).

    • ("geologic storage" OR "carbon sink" OR "carbon sequestrat*") AND ("global warming" or "climate change")
    • Some databases, such as the Advanced Search section of GeoRef, will prompt you through this search construction process with labeled boxes.

      Research Tips

      Do preliminary searches before settling on a topic
      Don't assume there will be a lot of information on your topic. Do a few searches before committing to a topic. You may find that you need to narrow or broaden your topic.

      For example, if you start with a  question about carbon sequestration, you may decide to limit it to geologic storage in sedimentary basins or geologic carbon sequestration.

      Focus on scholarly sources
      Use primarily scholarly or peer-reviewed sources. Such articles are typically identified and found by searching one of the Library's databases.  They may also found by using Google Scholar to search the Internet. If you are not sure what the difference between a scholar journal and a popular resource, please look at this page: Scholarly vs Popular.

      Books vs. articles
      Books may be helpful for background information and for familiarizing yourself with a topic. Articles can provide more current information and typically address a very narrow piece of a topic. The scope of your assignment will determine what types of sources are best.

      Keep a log of your search process
      Keep track of what sources and search terms "work" and which ones do not.

      Cite as you go
      Even if you're not sure whether you will use a source, it's much easier to note the citation information up front than to decide you need it later!

      Using Get It!

      Sometimes databases will contain links to electronic copies of full articles.  These are known as "full text" articles.  Get it! is a system that helps researchers quickly connect to full text articles when searching online.

      Get It! searches though the library's database and journal subscriptions to connect researchers to the full text of the desired article. When searching in a database that is Get It! -enabled, you will see a small link or button labeled Get It! beneath the article records that are returned by the database.  Clicking Get It! will either bring you directly to the article, or will provide the following options:

      Clicking on GET ARTICLE will bring you to a copy of the article, while the GO TO JOURNAL option will bring you to the journal's home page.

      If Get it! cannot locate a full-text copy of the article or an electronic subscription to the journal that published the article, you will see the following:

      The best next step is to use the link to DELCAT Discovery to search for the journal by title or ISSN to determine if we have this journal in print in the library for the year in which your article was published.  If you have searched DELCAT Discovery and find that we don't have the journal containing your article, you can use the link to interlibrary loan to request that the article be delivered to you from another library.

      Ask the Library