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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Physics 90 From Black Holes to Strings: The Early Universe and the Nature of Space-Time


The goal of this exercise is  to help you learn how to navigate and use library resources. Ask for for help during the session. Above all, have fun with the exercise!


This popular article inks out to a scholarly article.

Compare these two articles. For example, what differences are there in: audience; whether they have a bibliography; structure; use of technical terminology? Just write a few sentences and put it into a Word document.  Tip: review the page of this guide about the difference between popular and scholarly articles.


Now find a recent magazine or newspaper article, not a scholarly article, about one of the topics in the term paper topic assignments. For this, use one of the resources in the Popular Articles page.

You can start off by searching a really broad concept, like cosmology, just to see what comes and get ideas for refining or specifying your search. If you use one resource in the Popular Articles page and don't find what you need, try another one.

Find something that is popular and not scholarly at this point. You may find that your search brings up some scholarly items. Avoid those for now.

Create a citation for the item by putting its URL into ZoteroBib. The Citing Your Sources page of this guide explains how to use ZoteroBib. Choose American Psychological Association style when you do this. Put the citation into your Word document.


Write down a concept that appears in the article (from 2) that you'd like to learn more about. Go to the background information page of this guide and consult "Access Science" for an encyclopedia or dictionary entry for the topic. Write in your Word document the title of the item you found. Then do an advanced Google search for the topic. Write in your Word document the URL for a reliable website and explain why you think it appears reliable.


Then go to Web of Science and find a scholarly article that is ballpark with the topic of the popular article you found in (3).

Put in your topic and run a search on it. Again, you can ask for help in creating a search string.  

Find a paper whose title and abstract look interesting.  No need to read the article, but click on Lehigh Links

and see if the full text is available.  If not, how would get a copy? If you don't see a direct link to the full text, recall what was said in class about the interlibrary loan service called "ILLiad". You don't need to order the article!

Use ZoteroBib to reate a citation for the paper in APA style and record it in your Word document.

5. How many times was the paper you found cited by later papers? Find the "citations" number on the right; here is an example:


Looking at later papers citing the first one is a powerful way to search; one paper only cites another if the first paper is relevant or related in topic.

6. Re-run your Web of Science search. On the left of your search results, look under "Document Types" for "Review Article".  A good review article helps to review recent trends in research about a topic. If you did not find a review article, broaden your search. Put the title and the name of the journal in which it appeared into your Word document.

7.  Set up an ILLiad account. This requires a one-time registration. You can then have it ready to go should you need ILLiad at some point.