BIOL 4900

Search Strategies & Skills

Mapping Your Topic

Constructing a Search Statement

Search Tips: Boolean Operators and More


Finding Articles in Odum Library

Databases are the best way to search for research articles on your topic


Evaluating Your Sources

What is a primary research article? 

A primary research article reports on the original research and findings of the authors. Primary research articles have the following sections:

Introduction/Literature Review

What is a secondary research article?

A secondary research article reviews, summarizes, and discusses topics of interest. The research is not original, rather the authors look at other existing research articles on the topic. Secondary articles are useful for learning about a topic of interest and gaining a better understanding at the overall scope or limitations of the research on that topic.

What is a peer-reviewed journal?

VSU Peer Review Guide

Some databases allow you to limit your search to Peer Reviewed or Refereed articles. Often, you can click on the Journal title and get information about the journal in a database, including if it is peer-reviewed.

You can also check to see if a journal is peer-reviewed using Ulrich’s, a directory of all journals, magazines, news, and any other periodically-released resource. Type the journal title in the search box (leave off A, The, An, etc. at the start of the tile) and either hit "Enter" or click on the search button (green magnifying glass).

Find your title in the search results and click on it to see the record. Look for “Refereed” and “Yes.” If you do not see “Refereed” in the Basic Description column, it is not. Refereed is the same as peer-reviewed.

Evaluating Journal Articles

Scholarly Journals vs. Trade Magazines vs. Popular Magazines

Retrieving Articles & Books

Locating articles online

Getting Electronic Journal Articles Full Text (Odum Library Guide)

Locating bound & current print journals in Odum Library
Bound periodicals are located on the 1st floor of Odum Library.
Current periodicals are located on the 1st floor of Odum Library.  Don't forget to lift up the shelf if you are looking for previous months' issues.

Locating books, theses, dissertations & government documents

Search GIL-FIND@ VSU to find materials at Odum Library

Search the GIL Universal Catalog to find materials in any USG library

Dissertation & Theses Full Text (ProQuest) is a multidisciplinary database of dissertations and theses, many are full text.

Requesting Books & Articles not Available at Odum Library

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) allows you to request books and articles that Odum Library does not have.

GIL Express (guide) is a service that allows you to borrow items as available from University System of Georgia (USG) Libraries through placing an online request in the GIL Universal Catalog or on site when visiting one of the USG libraries.


Asking for Help

Have a Question? Need Help? Asking a librarian is easy with Live Chat!

Live Chat: Chat with, text, or call a VSU Librarian, email us your questions after hours, or schedule an In-Depth Research Appointment with a librarian.