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BIO420 - Animal Behavior: Articles

A course designed to provide students with fundamental concepts of animal behavior or ethology.

Finding Articles in Science

Researching in the Sciences can be a bit different than research you've done in other classes. Most scientific research you use should be recent (within 5 years).  Here are a few tips to help you find worthwhile things:

  • Use the Internet-- You may be able to find recent research and new discoveries on the World Wide Web. Instead of just using Google, use the specialized search engines listed on the Websites Box. Read web pages carefully for original research.  

  • Always read carefully -- As you read reports, blogs, articles, etc., look for words that will point you in the right direction for other research (i.e., "An article in Science states..." -- Go and find that article!

  • Bibliographic Mining -- Look at the bibliographies of the materials you already have. This is a  great place to find additional resources that will be helpful to your paper. Looking at the citation information of the bibliography, you can usually determine from where that source originates.

  • Use the Journal Finder -- The Journal Finder will search for journal and magazine titles available through the OWHL's databases and Print collection.  It can tell you if the particular year and /or volume of a journal is available.

Search FAQ

Why can't I find anything in the databases?
The Science Databases (especially ScienceDirect) contain millions of articles! You should be searching carefully using the advanced search to limit your searches to specific subject areas and full text availability. Instead of just using keywords, you may need to be very specific in your searches.


Can I access databases off campus?
Indeed. When you are off campus, you will be asked to enter your last name and your PA ID number. If you have any problems, don't hesitate to contact the library at (978)749-4230.


What is Full-Text?
Full text means that you will be able to read/view the entire text of the article - not just an index entry or abstract.


What is an Index?
Indexing indicates that the full text of an article is not provided by the database. Typically, this means that you will only have access to an article's title, abstract, and author list. You will need to use the journal finder, if you want to find the full text.


What is the Journal Finder?
The journal finder will search the OWHL collections (online and print) for the titles of specific journals. To use, enter the title of the journal you want to find.

Article Databases

Unless you need to search an individual journal title, you will be using a database to conduct your search. The databases contain numerous (1000s) of individual titles that you can search at one time.  The library databases are paid subscriptions and can only be accessed by PA Students, faculty and community.

You should not just use JStor for this project!

The following are recommended databases for your paper/project:


Access Science  A good database to start with if you are still defining your topic or learning the basics of a subject area. Gathers and synthesizes vast amounts of information, and organizes it to give you fast, easy and accurate access to authoritative articles in all major areas of science and technology.
Scientific American Online Scientific American is a scientific magazine specializing in articles that bridge knowledge between professional scientists and the public. This online version of the journal carries the full-text of Scientific American back to 1993. Our archive includes all the results from Scientific American as well as their special publications.  
Proquest Science Journals This science specialized database indexes over 2.7 million articles from the applied and general sciences. You will need to pay attention to your search terms because simply entering your topic may result in too many hits.  Try adding some specifics such as geographic location or major researchers in the field.     
ScienceONLINE ScienceONLINE is the online repository for the journal Science.  The online version contains articles going back all the way to 1880!  Science is one of the world's premier journals offering cutting edge original research  in all areas of the Natural Sciences. Searching the database is a little cumbersome and can require some patience.  See a librarian for help!  
ScienceDirect ScienceDirect is a comprehensive scientific database containing articles from over 2500 different scientific journal titles in many diverse fields. You can help narrow your search by choosing advanced search and limiting your search parameters to the abstract and title as well as the appropriate subject field.  You will find the more detailed you get, the more accurate your results.  We receive the current 5 years of articles in full-text. 
HighWire Press  Hosted by Stanford University, HighWire Press indexes over 1300 journals in the  Sciences. It is recomended that you start a search in the abstract and title fields.  Your results will indicate the link to the article and any associated costs.  Many of the articles are free.  Before paying for any articles, try the journal finder or speak to a librarian.  
Directory of Open Access Journals  The Directory of Open Access Journals provides searching in over 2000 open access (i.e., free) journals in scientific and scholarly areas.  In order to search for articles, use the link on the left-hand side. This database covers other areas beside Science, but has been fruitful in the past.



To see a chart of all the databases the OWHL subscribes to, visit the E-Resources A-Z page.

Other Possibilities

Researcher / Scientist Website
If you are having trouble finding the full-text of an article, it is a good idea to try the authors' website. Sometimes, they will post their own writings/research there available to all.

Foundation or Association Website
Sometimes the organization associated with a disease will post a reading list or contain sections documenting the latest breakthroughs/research.

If you are having trouble finding a particular article, I suggest typing the article "title" into your old friend:


Google Web Search

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