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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Science Summer Undergraduate Research 2023

Prof. Oriana Fisher

Introduction to class exercise

The goal of this hands-on exercise is to give you practice in:

  • finding reliable background information sources
  • searching for scholarly journal articles for use in your research
  • putting articles and background sources into a particular style.

To do the exercise, follow the steps below in order.  

1. Find two background information sources

Go to the Background Information page of this guide and use one of the resources mentioned there.

For discussion:

  • what make the source you selected reliable or authoritative?
  • does it help give you a broader understanding of your topic, or technical terminology you encounter?

2. Find two scholarly articles

Review the page of this guide (see on the left) titled "Scholarly versus Popular Articles".  This will give you a sense of how scholarly articles differ from popular articles, such as magazine or newspaper articles. 

Now locate two articles using the Web of Science database. You'll use the first article as a stepping stone to find the second one.

To find the first article, design a search statement that draws on the techniques discussed in the presentation.  For a refresher, go here.

Techniques to use when you set up a search statement:

  • Truncation. Example: protein*
  • Logical operators (AND, OR). Example: calcium or copper
  • Phrase searching. Example: "pinctada fucata"

You can put these together into one search. In the example below, parentheses help to "nest" mini-searches that are processed first, then added to the larger search. Make sure "Topic" is selected as the search type.

protein* and purif* and crystalliz* and (calcium or copper) and bind* and "pinctada fucata"

Click "Search".

Go to the left of the search results. Here you see a column of filters you can use to narrow your search. Under Publication Types, select "Journal Article": 

Look at the results. You may have to narrow or broaden your search by removing or adding terms. Tips: Use other filters that appear on the left. 

Make sure that the article is not a "review" . You'll look for a review article later.  To do so, when you look at the entire search record that comes up, you should see "journal" but don't see "review" as the document type in the full record that comes up. 

To see how many times this article has been cited by other items, see the circled item below as an example: 

For the first article and the two others you find, can you get directly to the full text of the article? Recall the tutorial discussion about Lehigh Links: Clicking on that button, you will either get access directly to the full text; if not, you would have to use ILLiad to order a copy of the article. ILLiad is an interlibrary loan service.


After you find the first article, use it to help you find a second article. This second article should be related in topic to the first article. Here are ways to make sure they are related in this way:

  • In the search result for the first article, click on the "times cited" link. You just saw that above. This is a powerful way to find the second article. One item will not cite another unless it is related in subject to the first.
  • click on "view related records" to the right after you go into a record. 
  • use keywords from that first article to tweak your search and find the second article
  • see if the author of the first article has published a second, related article.

For discussion:

What technique did you find helpful for starting from the first article to find the second one?

3. Find a review article

Now find a review article, again related closely to the topic of the first and second articles you found above--again, related to your summer science work.

A review article discusses the literature about a topic. It is a good place to find more bibliography but also to develop further your background knowledge of a topic.

Run a search on your topic and then go to the left to see the "filters" that appear to the left in search results (we saw these earlier.)  Under "Publication Types",  select "review". Example below. If a review article does not appear in your search results, try broadening your search. (Make sure the items that come up are scholarly journal article, not reviews of a book.)

If you have time, take a quick look at "Annual Reviews", mentioned below in this box.


For discussion:

  • How does the review article differ from the two non-review journal articles you found? (e.g., structure, purpose).  
  • Did you find a review article useful for giving you an overview of your summer research topic?


Additional resource: Annual Reviews Online  

Another database you can search for review articles is the following one. Tip: If you don't find recent results, you can change the sort from relevance to date to put the most recent items first.

4. Put one of the journal articles you found into "CSE Style"

There are a huge number of styles for citing your work. Just as an example, use the Council of Science Editors reference (CSE) style to put one of the papers you found into CSE style. 

Citations can be "in-text" citations that point to a list of full citations (bibliography) at the end of a paper. In this exercise, just focus on how to put the paper into the style for the latter purpose.

Say your search brought up this journal article. How do you cite it in CSE style? 

Turn to the section about journal articles on p. 4 of the Council of Science Editors reference (CSE) style guide, which says to cite the article as:

This reference is in the form: Authors. Publication year. Article title. Journal title abbreviated. Volume (Issue): Page numbers. DOI.


Note how these elements correspond to these color-matched  elements in the article:

To render your articles in CSE style, try these two steps:

(1) use ZoteroBib to help create the citation

(2) No such tool is going to be perfect, so next edit ZoteroBib's output by checking the CSE style guide.

Quick note: ZoteroBib is a much simpler tool than the software Zotero.

Here is a guide about both,

Consider using Zotero for long papers. A feature of Zotero: "Of the different ways to automatically generate bibliographies (as well as in-text citations and footnotes), the easy-to-use word processor plugins are the most powerful. These plugins, available for Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, and Google Docs, create dynamic bibliographies: insert a new in-text citation in your manuscript, and the bibliography will be automatically updated to include the cited item."

First, click on ZoteroBib. Type in the article title: 

Click cite. It will say "please select a citation from the list". Check the option that corresponds to your article. If so, click it. 

Under "bibliography, you'll see the item cited in a citation style, but it will probably be different from CSE style (e.g., it might be Modern Language Associations (MLA) style).  Open the menu.  Click on the button that says "10,000+ other styles available". Search for the "Council of Science Editors, Name-Year (author-date)"
format. Click on "Add". Now you can select this citation style and render your article in it.

You'll see this come up:




If you need more information about ZoteroBib, see here for some youtubes.

Since tools like ZoteroBib don't perfectly render a style, check your article against the CSE style guide, which defines the rules for this style. For the article above, ZoteroBib produced a reference that was pretty close to CSE style, though ZoteroBib  didn't abbreviate the title. 

Fine points:

  • If you need the abbreviation of the journal, see the relevant links on the CSE guide, above. See p. 3, "Verifying how to abbreviate Journal Titles".
  • If you have trouble finding the "issue" number, try this. Go to Search on the title of the article.  Look for the Cite link.  You might find the issue number there.
  • See the notes on p. 3  of the CSE guide under "12. Document/article number" if you encounter the following:  "Some journal articles are assigned a document or article number. This reflects the emerging digital publishing environment when articles are numbered individually." Follow the directions there.

Note that ZoteroBib let's you do in-text citation. See this youtube.

For discussion:

How well did ZoteroBib work for you?

5. Look for one preprint

Now search for a "preprint". Use the same search techniques you used when searching Web of Science.

"In academic publishing, a preprint is a version of a research paper or outcome that is publicly available in a repository before it has been peer reviewed."

What are the uses of preprints?

Some fields depend on preprints more than other fields. Searching for them can give you an idea as to cutting edge research in a given field, plus advance notice of literature that might eventually get past peer review and be published in a scholarly journal. But keep in mind that they are "preprints" because they are "pre" peer review.


For discussion:

How does the preprint you found differ from the other articles you found? Is the preprint useful for your summer research?

Recommended post-exercise "to-do's"



Citation Guides and Style Manuals

Citations, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing: Why Do We Cite


If you're off campus, VPN  can help you access articles on the web that you cannot directly access otherwise. NOTE: Even with VPN on, you may be prompted for the Lehigh login and password that you use in accessing Lehigh email.   

When using the library services, make sure to select the "Library/International" option when accessing VPN. The screen where you see that option may be hiding behind another screen, so make sure to look for it!

To set up VPN, see Remote Connectivity - the Lehigh VPN.


Spend two minutes setting up an ILLiad account, if you have not done so already. ILLiad enables you to order articles that Lehigh does not have electronically. Lehigh will order the item for you, or scan it for you if Lehigh has it in print. In either case, you will receive an email with a link to the article. You may need to use ILLiad later in the semester or for other assignments or classes. Go here. Click on ILLiad. Fill out required one-time registration information. (If you want a tutorial, see here.)