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WR 362: Science Writing

Resources for a course on popular science writing.

Article Databases

Databases for locating general and scholarly articles (journals, magazines, newspapers)

Scholarly Databases

Selected science databases.

A complete list of all the library databases is on the databases list.


Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary sources are the raw materials of history, providing a window into the past and unfiltered access to the historical record. They are the >first-hand accounts, in a range of formats, which were produced by people who lived during that period. In an archive of primary source materials, you’ll find a record of the cultural, social, economic, political, and scientific inquiries of the time.

Secondary sources help build your background knowledge about your topic. They are used to interpret primary sources, so you can think of them as report that is at least one step removed from the event or issue you are studying. In this sense, secondary sources are like second-hand accounts…

  • If I tell you something, then I am the primary source.
  • If you tell someone else what I told you, then you are the secondary source.

<Learn More>


[Taken from Jane Nichols and Tiah Edmondson-Mortron' guide "Primary Sources".]

Choosing a Database

Online databases are a good place to start when you are searching for articles -- especially scholarly and peer-reviewed articles. Databases are searchable collections of research and other articles from journals, magazines, and newspapers. You can search for articles by topic or, if you already know the information, by author or title.

Not all articles in a database include the article's full text.

  • Go to the Library home page and click on Databases A-Z (below the search box). This will take you to an alphabetical list of all our databases.
  • To see a list of databases recommended for a specific discipline, use the Subject drop-down on Databases A-Z. Select a subject area from the drop-down and click Search. 
  • Most databases include a brief description which tells you more about the type of materials included in the database and the topics and time periods it covers.

Searching a Database

The most effective way to search the online databases is to enter terms or keywords that effectively describe your topic.

  • Use broad, meaningful keywords when you search. Don't use sentences or phrases.
  • Use just a few keywords (1-3). You can always add keywords later if you need to refine your search.
  • Use the facets or limits to help refine your search. For example, you can narrow your search by date or by geographic region.
  • When you review your results, look at the abstracts or subject headings for other keywords you can use to improve your search.
  • Be prepared to do several searches. Research is a process that takes time.


Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a services provided by the library to get you the journal articles you need for your research.

Here's how it works:

  • If there is a journal article you need and it's not available online, we will make an electronic copy and send it to you.
  • If we don't have the journal here at OSU, we'll get a copy for you from another library.

The turn around time is as fast as 2-3 days but we cannot guarantee this. It may take longer so a make sure you request early.

Set up your Interlibrary Loan account at