Category Archives: Biology

Need help with finding statistics?

Seeing Through Statistics by Jessica M. Utts

Main 2nd Floor – QA276.12 .U88 2015

‘Tis the season – it’s the end-of-the-semester-paper-crunch time! If you are writing a research paper and need statistics and data to support your argument, the library can help you.

Are you a business major or taking a sociology class that requires you to do quantitative analysis? Or maybe you just need one more excellent source to finish off your paper? Check out the Datasets and Statistics Research Guide, easily accessed from the library homepage.

Here you’ll find many free resources that cover governmental statistics and census info, scientific datasets, social surveys and indicators, financial information, and more. You will also see a list of books under each discipline that will guide you on how to use and analyze statistics effectively.

As always, if you have any questions about accessing and using data, stop by the Reference Desk and ask a librarian for help.


When is a riddle a ridley? Searching for Kemp’s olive ridley sea turtle

Image by Bernard Gagnon

One of the most important skills you can develop as a researcher is the ability to approach your research problem from many different angles. One issue I see often with young researchers is the unwillingness to stop using certain key phrases or terms.

Often the language you and I might use to discuss a topic is not the same language an expert will use to discuss the same topic. You and I might talk about the death penalty, but scholars write about capital punishment. There are many excellent scholarly works discussing the death penalty that never use that phrase.

Sometimes the words we’re using are simply incorrect. We mis-hear, misspell, or mis-understand. Or, in the case of a recent question at the reference desk, we are relying on a typographical error.

A recent assignment asked students to find information on Kemp’s olive riddle sea turtle rather than the Kemp’s olive ridley sea turtle. Our reference librarian eventually uncovered the correct spelling, but not after much frustrated searching by the student.

When it comes to the initial stages of research you can safely assume that almost everything you know is wrong. Cultivate the habit of approaching your research problem from as many different angles as possible. And, if that fails, stop by and talk to one of our reference librarians.

Reference Question of the Week: Where can I find scientific articles on how spices affect foodborne pathogens?

For this question my first stop is usually ScienceDirect (make sure you’re logged in to Esearch). From there I start with a broad search (using, for example, the keywords: spices foodborne pathogens). When I get to the results page I refine my results even further. Using the tools on the left-hand side of the page I limit my search to only ‘journal’ articles. Then I use the ‘Search within results’ box and add another keyword or two (for example: e. coli). I can continue to narrow my search using the tools on the left-hand side, or by adding more keywords.

When I use ‘garlic’ as a keyword instead of ‘e. coli’ I find the article “Effects of spices on growth and survival of Escherichia coli 0157 and Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis in broth model systems and mayonnaise” by Renata G.K Leuschner and Juliette Zamparini. Once I have this article I can use the references at the end of the paper to locate more works on my research topic, or I can do another search.

You might also try Academic Search Complete (which you can find on the databases page). When using the key terms ‘Escherichia coli’, ‘garlic’ and ‘antimicrobial’ (and then restricting my search to ‘Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals’ by using the check box on the left-hand side) I found “Evaluation of antibacterial activity of Indian spices against common foodborne pathogens” by Sofia, Papachan Karur; Prasad, Rajendra; Vijay, Virendra Kumar; and Srivastava, Ashok Kumar.

You might also experiment with using SciRus, PubMed, CINAHL, and ProQuest.