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CHEM 1050: The Jazz of Chemistry

Barnard Library Workshop
Wednesday, Sept. 12th, 10:10am.  Milstein 225

Finding Non-Scholarly Materials on the Web

Web searching can be good for:

  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Background info
  • Articles describing research in non-scholarly language
  • Vocabulary relating to topic, useful keywords, synonyms to broaden your search

When evaluating web sources, the criteria to consider are:

  • the Coverage of the topic provided by the Web page,
  • the Reliability of the information,
  • the Authority of the author or sponsoring organization,
  • the Purpose of the Website.

What is meant by “Scholarly?”

Scholarly journals are periodicals for specialized readership (also known as peer reviewed or refereed journals)

  • contain articles written by scholars or experts in a field of study, describing "cutting edge" research
  • articles are "peer reviewed" or "refereed," as a quality control mechanism
  • articles have footnotes (or endnotes) and references
  • give the affiliation of the authors (university, research institution),
  • in the sciences and the social sciences each article also has an abstract.

CSE Style for Citations

  • The guide is at
  • Use the Name-Year option. Within the body of your paper, put the author name and year of publication in parentheses.


  • Citation software that can be used for managing citations, annotating and storing documents, organizing research, and collaborating with others online
  • The guide is at 
  • Use the APA style (since EndNote doesn’t include CSE style) and adjust the references slightly by taking out the periods after authors’ initials, the parentheses from the year, the italics from the journal title, and the DOI.


Hands On Exercises

1. Do a Google search for: chocolate flavanols

2. From your results, write down the titles of:

  • A Web page that was probably written mainly to sell products or advertising
  • A Web page that is not scholarly but might be useful for background information
  • A Web page that is a scholarly article


Finding Scholarly Articles

Google Scholar

  • This is a full text search, so you may get too many irrelevant hits.
  • Use the Advanced search to search titles only (allintitle:), but you may not get enough hits.
  • Go to Settings – Library Links to enable eLink@Columbia, which makes it easy to find full text in various databases, or go to Interlibrary Loan if we don’t have the journal at Columbia. 
  • Click on Cite to see the citation for the article in APA and other styles.
  • Sample searches:
  1. chocolate flavanol
  2. allintitle: chocolate flavanol


Web of Science (All Databases)

  • Useful for determining how many articles have cited another article. You can sort the results by “Times Cited” to find out which articles are the most influential.
  • Sample searches:

1.        chocolate
   AND flavanols

2. Using truncation to find different endings:
   AND flavan*

3. Using quotes for phrase searching:
   AND flavan*
   AND “blood pressure”

4. Using synonyms or alternate terms to increase the number of results:
            chocolate OR cocoa
     AND flavan* OR flavon*
     AND “blood pressure”