Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University Washington and Lee University The University Library

Tectonics and Thermochronology

Geology 360

Fall Term 2008

Professor Jeff Rahl

Prepared by Mary Abdoney, Science Librarian

This guide will direct you through the research process, but you may have questions that are not answered on this guide.  Be sure to begin your research early in case you need help from a librarian!

If you are new to college level research, you may want to check out this tutorial (about 5 minutes) to get the basics.  (It is for Biology 111, but the concepts are applicable across disciplines.)


Finding Journal Articles

What are journal articles?  Journal articles contain much more specialized information than books and other monographs.  Since the turnaround time for publication is shorter, the information is very current.  Use W&L's Online Databases to find journal articles related to your topic.

Why look at journal articles?  Before you begin any research project, you must become familiar with any other research that has been conducted previously.  This is where the literature review comes in.  Researchers perform a literature review to make sure there is a need for their original research, and to discover gaps in the research that they may want to fill.  Researchers often include a literature review in their final publication to familiarize the reader with previous research.

Selected Online Databases to find Journal Articles

GeoRefS  Nearly 2 million records about geology and earth sciences. Contains earth science references and the index terms that describe them, scanned from more than 25,150 journals in 40 languages.

Scopus  Described as the largest citation-and-abstract database in the world, Scopus features broad coverage of scientific, technical, medical, and social sciences literature, as covered in about 14,000 peer-reviewed resources, as well as academic Web sites from the Scirus database. Scopus also functions as a citation-indexing tool.

Getting the full-text of the article


Writing Your Paper

This is the most important part of the assignment, but many students neglect some very important details.  If you are having trouble getting started, formatting your paper, or confused about language use, visit the Writing Center.  The following is a list of online resources that will help you through the process.

Selected University Library Resources

RefWorks  (Quick Start Guide PDF)

All Science Databses at W&L University Library

Documentation Styles in the Sciences

Journal Abbreviations in the Sciences

Language Reference

Other W&L Resources for Geology

Set Up a Research Appointment

If you have trouble using these resources, see Mary Abdoney in the Science Library for help.

Or, send an instant message from your Yahoo!, AIM or MSN account to WLULibRef.