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HSPP 1001: Biology Research Apprenticeship

Barnard Library Workshop: Tuesday, Oct. 9th, 3:00pm, Milstein 225

Finding Non-Scholarly Materials on the Web

  • The Web is useful for brainstorming ideas and finding vocabulary, synonyms and useful keywords to search, as well as background info and articles describing research in non-scholarly language
  • Use the page Evaluating Websites to help you determine whether a Web page has useful information
  • 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.
  • Websites like Wikipedia, WedMD,, Livescience, eHow, etc. can be a good starting off point, but are not scholarly.

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.


  • Citation software that can be used for managing citations, annotating and storing documents, organizing research, and collaborating with others online.
  • See Barnard Library EndNote Guide.


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:


  • This database from the National Library of Medicine contains citations to journal articles in in medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and the health care system.
  • Pubmed is not a full-text database, but it links out to the full text articles.  After going to the article record by clicking on its title, click on LinkOut - more resources below the abstract, or e-link in the top right.
  • If you're off campus, you'll need to enter your UNI and password to access the full articles.
  • The NLM adds words called Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) to the information about each article.  Searching with MeSH words can help you to find more relevant articles.
  • To save a citation to EndNote, click on Send to - Citation manager.  After creating the file, open it with EndNote or with ResearchSoft Direct Export Helper (which will automatically send it to EndNote).