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FES 520: Posing Research Questions

Library guide to finding information resources in forest science and related fields.

Course Description

FES 520 acquaints beginning graduate students in the natural resources to the scientific method and formation of good researchable questions. Course objectives are to:

  • Understand the philosophy of science and apply basic logic, reasoning, and creativity to scientific research.  Specifically, students will be able to apply the scientific method, in various approaches, to research in the natural resources.
  • Recognize and develop non-trivial questions and approaches to research.  Specifically, students demonstrate this ability by analyzing research questions developed by others, and by identifying a high-quality, researchable question of their own.
  • Apply problem-solving skills to research problems.  Specifically, students will demonstrate this skill by developing, organizing, and describing a high-quality researchable question in an area of natural resource science.
  • Convey technical and non-technical information effectively in both oral and written forms.  Specifically, students will demonstrate this ability by describing and justifying the above researchable question in both written and oral forms

Things to do sooner than later

  1. Register for Interlibrary Loan/Scan&Deliver (new user)
  2. Decide on a bibliographic management tool (e.g., Zotero, EndNote, Mendeley) 
  3. Register for JournalTOCs so that when you know the journals you want to keep current with,  you can use it to register for Table of Contents RSS feeds for all of them at once.
  4. Set up accounts in the databases you are likely to use frequently so you can save your search histories and set up search alerts on topics of interest top choices.  Start with one or more of these:

College of Forestry -- Library Contacts

Whenever you have questions about the Library send them to:



What's where in the library

Be sure you can locate the the OSU Libraries Home Page. From there:

  • Use 1Search (searches OSU and other northwest university library collections as well as several databases)
  • Browse Databases and EJournals
  • Select Borrow and Request to use Interlibrary Loan and Course Reserves
  • Select Help to contact a librarian or browse research guides

To familiarize yourself with materials on the first and second floors use the  floormaps.  A word to the wise: the first floor, which houses most forestry material, seems complicated at first. On this floor we house older volumes of journals in "compact shelving" on the North side. Journal volumes from 1990 through last year are shelved with the books on the South side. The current year of print journals are unbound in display shelving in the Southeast corner. However, most of our current subscriptions are no longer received in print, rather they are receive electronically and can be found from the link to "E-Journals."

Library Workshops and Webinars

E-Campus Webinar schedule 

Undergraduate Workshop Recordings: and Graduate & Faculty Workshop Schedule Offered on-campus, registration required (though anyone welcome).  Sessions are offered multiple times during the term.