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Physics Seminar - Fall 2020 (21:750:491 & 21:750:791): Sept. 11

This guide was created specifically for Dr. Claudiu Stan's classes - Fall 2020

Getting Started with Physics Research at Rutgers University Libraries

Learning objectives:

Students will learn some foundational information literacy skills and how to get started doing literature research at Rutgers. Upon completion of the session, students will be able to:

  1. explain the scholarly communication process, including what peer review entails
  2. distinguish between original research articles and review articles
  3. identify, based on a citation, whether a source is an article, book, conference proceeding, dissertation, patent, or Web site
  4. request books at Rutgers and beyond
  5. evaluate sources

**Please note that the graded library exercise can be found on the Canvas course site, under the 'Library Research Session' module.**

Helpful Links

1a. The Scholarly Communication Process

Scholarly communication is a cyclical process that is a vital aspect of doing research:

1b. The peer review process

The peer review process

Peer Review Process

2. From background information to original research articles

Researching a topic that's new to you?  

  • 1st: Learn more about the topic:
    • A book can be helpful since it's broader in scope
    • Reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias can also be useful for looking up unfamilar terms
  • 2nd: Review articles are valuable resources:
    • Providing historical background information
    • Explaining the significance of the research - why it's important to study
    • Discussing possible future directions
    • Identifying key papers (& scientists) in the subject area
  • 3rd: Read current original research articles:
    • Narrow in scope
    • More details about methodology
    • Be up-to-date on newest discoveries

3. What type of source is it?

As you may be aware, different citation styles are followed depending on the discipline. Even in just the sciences, there's ACS (American Chemical Society), AIP (American Institute of Physics), and CSE (Council of Science Editors), to name a few.  In fact, different publishers use different styles – and may even decide to use different styles depending on the journal in question.

Given a citation, how can you tell what type of source it is?  Here are tips on what to look out for...

  • Book - includes publisher name
  • Journal article - includes volume/issue #
  • Dissertation - includes university name
  • Conference proceeding - includes conference name, location
  • Patent - includes patent # that typically begins with 2 letters
  • Web site - includes URL


4. Flowchart for accessing books at Rutgers

Flowchart for accessing books at Rutgers

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