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But there'll also be times when your mentor is busy or isn't up-to-date on a particular experimental method, in which case, you'll need to be proactive and hunt for papers on your own.It turns out that just plugging search terms into a regular search engine, like Google, Yahoo, or MSN, isn't very effective.With these five tools and eight research paper tips, you can enhance your own learning process and set yourself up for success as an online college student.
Reading scientific literature is a critical part of conceiving of and executing a successful advanced science project.
The How to Read a Scientific Paper guide can help you get the most out of each paper you read—first, of course, you have to actually get your hands on the paper! Below you'll find tips and resources for both searching for and acquiring free copies of scientific papers to read.
Note: The results of academic search engines come in the form of an abstract, which you can read to determine if the paper is relevant to your science project, as well as a full citation (author, journal title, volume, page numbers, year, etc.) so that you can find a physical copy of the paper.
Search engines do not necessarily contain the full text of the paper for you to read.
There are a handful of free, publicly available academic search engines that can be accessed online; some of these are listed in Table 1, below.
The remainder, like the ISI Web of Science, are subscription-based.Academic search engines like the ones offered by Google, Microsoft, and many academic publishing companies, don’t necessarily offer full access to published papers, but they are a great way to do preliminary research and find out what type of investigation has already been done in any academic sphere.Top of Page Databases of academic journals typically allow users to purchase a subscription to access all the materials, or one-off access to specific papers or journal issues.Consult the school's library webpage, or call the library directly, to find out to which academic search engines they subscribe to and whether or not you'd be allowed into the library to access them.Table 1: This table provides a list of free, online academic search engines for various science disciplines.Fortunately there are specialized academic databases and search engines for nearly any topic imaginable.This isn’t a ranked list, but a sample of many of the highest quality online resources for academic research.Online libraries, journals, databases, and academic search engines are a great resource for graduate students and Ph D students, as well as people at any level of education who are working on in-depth research.The subject matter contained in these sites covers many academic disciplines, but it would be impossible to cover all of them in one list.If the search engine doesn't, or if you got the citation somewhere else, like the bibliography of another science paper you were reading, there are several ways to find copies.Searching for Newer Papers (published during Internet era) Searching for Older Papers (published pre-Internet era) Even with all of the above searching methods, you may not be able to find a free copy of the paper online.