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Biology of Cancer: Background Information

Designed to help students in 21:120:402:01 find appropriate resources for their paper and poster assignments

3 credible online sources for background information

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
    • Credible Web sites may contain broad and/or more specific information
    • Reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias can also be useful for looking up unfamiliar 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

Finding articles in reviews

Dr. Gao suggested that you use review articles to locate specific research studies to include in your papers.  You can locate the review articles by using the limiter, Review articles, on the Medline search screen or the filter, Review articles, in PubMed.  You can also make the decision yourself.  A review article provides an analysis of research studies already published in the literature.  The authors do not offer any research results of their own.  The work is based entirely on the research of others with the authors summarizing and analyzing the research studies and offering their own conclusions.

After identifying appropriate articles in the review article's bibliography, you are ready to locate them by using the Journals tab in the gray area on the home page.  If the University Libraries owns the journal, it should appear first in the alphabetical list of periodical titles.  Click on the title to see the complete record.  You will see links to the electronic format as well as any print holdings in the University Libraries.  After clicking on the link for the electronic format, you can use the date to zoom in on the article.

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