Hello! My name is Ginny and I'm a Health, Life Science, and Scholarly Communication Librarian at Virginia Tech University Libraries. I'll be your librarian for courses and projects related to Biology. My picture and contact info is below on the right side of this course guide page. Feel free to contact me by email, phone, stop by during office hours, or to set up an appointment.
If you have questions about research or the library and I'm not available, don't forget our Ask a Librarian service!
Discover additional recommended research databases and overview sources for biological sciences research on the Biological Sciences Subject Guide.
Researching from Off Campus? See this Off Campus Sign In page to find out about getting to sources via the library website, the LibX Toolbar, or Google Scholar Settings to be sure you'll have the most full text access.
Use O*NET Online to explore careers related to Biology or subfields of Biology, and to get information for your assignment related to daily tasks, skills and education needed, typical starting salary, career outlook, and more.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics provides information on careers in all areas and links out to further resources.
Explore Biology career information from the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Links on this page include: best college and university biology programs (including graduate schools), internship options, job outlooks, and "where to find more information and job postings for biology-related careers."
Use these sources to learn about graduate program options and requirements for degrees needed to join your career of interest.
For many research assignments, including your BIOL 1004 library assignment, you need to use keywords to look for articles about: (1) careers in biological sciences, or (2) by faculty in VT's Biological Sciences Department. In the future, (3) you may also use keywords to find research on a topic.
Use research databases from the Select a Database page to try out searching methods shown in the examples below:
(1) Find articles about Biological Sciences careers: open a research articles database from the Select a Database page on this guide and type in words or phrases from the careers or graduate programs you investigated.
For example, if you wanted to find articles on being a Geneticist, try searching:
(2) Find articles by a Biological Sciences faculty member: go to a research articles database from the Select a Database page on this guide and type in the last name and first initial of a faculty member. Or, if you see a 'publications' list for that faculty on their department or lab website, copy the title of the article and paste that into Summon or another research database.
(2a) For example, to find publications by Lisa Belden, a VT Biological Sciences faculty member, in the Web of Science or PubMed research database, try searching:
(2b) You may also want to find articles listed on a faculty member's lab or website publications list.
For example: The Belden Lab publications list includes this article: "Using “omics” and multi-omics approaches to guide probiotic selection to mitigate chytridiomycosis and other emerging infectious diseases."
(3) Find articles or other sources on a topic: think of words or phrases for the main ideas you're interested in.
For example, if your research question was:
How can we use omics approaches to address infectious diseases?
Then you might create a search that looks something like this:
omics AND infectious diseases
If you don't find anything with that search, then you may want to think of adding some synonyms to your search:
(omics OR genomics OR proteomics) AND infectious disease*
A few more tips for searching:
Try our Search Strategy Builder for an easy way to build more complex keyword searches for topic research!
Virginia Tech's University Libraries gives you access to nearly 1,000 databases. How do you know where to start?
Try out the 3 options below: Summon and two disciplinary databases: Web of Science and PubMed. For more suggestions to locate Biological Sciences research literature, try the Biological Sciences Subject Guide, or contact your librarian for specific recommendations for your topic.
The Tutorials page of this guide includes some on databases.
The Creating a Keyword Search page of this guide has tips for searching in databases like PubMed, Web of Science, and others.
Do you need to identify 'peer reviewed' articles for a project or course assignment? View the 3 minute tutorial on the Tutorials page to find out more about what it means for an article to be peer reviewed.
Remember to look for the Get VText icon:
If that doesn't work, don't hesitate to contact your librarian for help accessing the full text of an article.
APA, or the American Psychological Association, uses one of the most well-known citation styles. Detailed information about using this style is available in the APA Style Guide (shown below), but you can also find information on the web about using the APA style:
MLA, or the Modern Language Association, provides another well-known citation style, used frequently within the Liberal Arts and Humanities. Detailed information is available in the MLA style guide, whose call number and library location is listed on the VT Libraries MLA webpage below, but you can also find information online about using MLA style:
Even more citation styles - the VT Libraries Citation and Style Manuals page provides descriptions of many more frequently used styles, each of which also link to resources for using the style:
For the assignment in this class, you need to be able to both understand how to read citations and create citations. You'll be creating citations according to the APA guidelines--see the information at the left for how to do this.
However, as you read through your articles and try to use bibliographies in order to find additional articles, you'll be coming across a lot of different citation styles. The example citation below, is in APA style. Citation styles, while they may look different, all contain the same basic information, and it's useful to become familiar with identifying key information from any type of citation:
Test yourself: Use the information in the citation above to search for the full text of the article. See the box below for more information about how to do this!
When you have a citation for an article that you're trying to find, there are a couple of different ways you can try to track down the article.
1. Use Summon. Summon can link you directly to articles. Simply type in the full title of the article (such as: "W.G. Sebald: The Pleasure and Pain of Beauty"). If we have access to the article, Summon will link you to it.Tip: If you get too many results that don't look like the right one, such as when searching for an article with a very general title, try adding the author's last name to the search with AND between the author name and the title (such as: Duttlinger AND "W.G. Sebald: The Pleasure and Pain of Beauty")
2. Check the journal subscription. If using Summon to find the article doesn't work, then you'll want to check and see if we subscribe to the journal that the article is from. In the example above, the journal title is German Life and Letters. In order to see if we have access to that journal, I will use the journal search on the library website:
3. Contact your librarian!
Review the tutorials on this page to be prepared for your BIOL 1004 pre-class quiz, and your in-class activity and assignment:
When searching in research databases or search tools, like Summon, Web of Science, PubMed, or others, using a keyword search with AND in between your key words or phrases will improve your results.
Watch this great video from our friends at Kimbel Library at Coastal Carolina University on selecting the right number of keywords to use in a search!
A video tutorial about the Summon search of materials available from the VT University Libraries. (Soon to be udpated - this is a preview version only.)
This 5 and 1/2 minute quick tour video was produced by the makers of the Web of Science research database. You can find more Web of Science tutorials on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/WoSTraining
Peer reviewed articles may also be called "scholarly" or "refereed." The term peer review refers to an editorial process in which experts from a particular discipline scrutinize articles before they are published by a journal. Watch the video below for a good overview of what these articles are, and why you should know about and use them.
Many thanks to our friends at NC State University Libraries: Anne Burke, Andreas Orphanides, Hyun-Duck Chung, Daria Dorafshar, Kyle Langdon, and Kim Duckett, for creating such a fantastic (3 min) video! (License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.)