Library Help for AIP Students
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Research assistance. San Diego Zoo Global librarians offer reference services to SDZG staff and volunteers. We're happy to help AIP students as time permits, in person (M-F 8:00-4:30) or by phone (760-747-8702 x5736) or email. A much larger selection of databases is available through the Miami University LIbraries (see guide on right). The MU librarians offer research assistance by phone, text, and chat.
Research tips and tutorials. Would you like to make your own literature searches easier and more productive? The information below can help!
We welcome comments and suggestions.
Primary vs. Secondary Sources
Primary source: Authoritative firsthand account, or original creative work
- Examples: Research data, letters, diaries, speeches, original photographs
Secondary source: Summary, interpretation, critique, or analysis
- Examples: Encyclopedias, textbooks, reviews, editorials, commentaries
Tip: An article from a scholarly journal or newspaper may be either.
- Is it an original account (primary), or a review/commentary (secondary)?
Peer-reviewed (scholarly) journals have long been the gold standard for publishing research findings. When you search literature databases, look for the option to limit results to peer-reviewed or scholarly journals.
The following guide will help you determine if a journal article is peer-reviewed. Also, please note the Warning: Predatory Publishers box below!
Anyone can publish anything on the internet! These guidelines will help you identify reliable online information sources:
Warning: Predatory Publishers
Unfortunately, newcomers looking for a quick profit are muddying the waters of scholarly publishing. These so-called predatory publishers do not rigorously review or fact-check articles before publishing, but they falsely advertise themselves as "peer-reviewed." Such scams are becoming disturbingly common.
Before you cite information from a journal, submit a manuscript, or agree to serve on an editorial board, please check the links below and take the following steps:
- Make sure the journal is not on Beall's List (below).
- Confirm that only research articles that have successfully passed an expert review process are published by the journal.
- Check with colleagues or online to find out if the journal has a good reputation.
Many open-access journals are reputable and authoritative university, society, or other non-profit initiatives. Keep in mind, not all open-access journals are from predatory publishers.
Google Search Tips
Table of Contents
SDZG Library: How to Find Books and Articles
MU Libraries: Guide for AIP Students
Miami University Libraries Website
Contact an MU Librarian
- King Library - (513) 529-4141 (today’s hours)
- Stephen Cox, Resident Librarian, Life Sciences - (513) 529-1633
Useful Research Guides
Howe Writing Center
- Online Consultations
- You and your consultant meet in real-time and talk through video, audio, and/or chat.
- Send your paper as a Microsoft Word document or Google Doc. Your consultant will provide written feedback.
All of these are available on the MU Libraries home page at Databases A-Z:
Biology, Conservation, Environment
- Web of Science is an interdisciplinary database best-known for the natural sciences. Its key feature is citation tracking (look up an article and find related, more recent papers that have cited it. Coverage includes 1965-present.
- Biological Abstracts/BIOSIS Previews gives the most comprehensive coverage of literature in the life sciences, including journal articles, meeting abstracts, and books. It covers both basic and applied biology broadly, e.g. agriculture, biochemistry, ecology, medicine, neuroscience, and physiology. Coverage includes 1969-present.
- ScienceDirect is a leading full-text scientific database that offers journal articles and book chapters from more than 2,500 peer-reviewed journals and more than 11,000 books. It currently includes more than 9.5 million articles/chapters and offers sophisticated search and retrieval options.
- AGRICOLA is the index of the National Agriculture Library. It covers animal welfare, plant science, fisheries, ecology, nutrition, environmental sciences, and veterinary science topics.
- Environment Complete covers environmental aspects of agriculture, ecosystem ecology, energy, natural resources, marine & freshwater science, geography, pollution & waste management, environmental technology, environmental law, public policy, social impacts, and urban planning.
- PsychINFO is the principal lit database for basic and clinical psychology and includes excellent coverage of animal behavior and neuroscience literature.
- ERIC is an education literature database that indexes more than 600 journals. In addition, contributors have given ERIC permission to display more than 115,000 full-text materials in PDF format - at no charge.
- Education Research Complete covers all levels of education from early childhood to higher education, and all specialties, such as multilingual education, health education, and testing.
- Education Full Text covers educational topics including administration and supervision, preschool, elementary, secondary, higher, and adult education; counseling and personnel service, teaching methods, and curriculum. It also covers contemporary educational issues.
- Professional Development Collection is a highly specialized collection of 520 high quality education journals, including nearly 350 peer-reviewed titles. This database also contains more than 200 educational reports.