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Biological Sciences   Tags: biology, botany, ecology, forestry  

Use this guide to find resources in biology, botany, forestry, ecology, and related disciplines.
Last Updated: Sep 22, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Quick Reference for Biology

Biological Sciences Resources at Your Library

The Montana Tech Library has a substantial research and study collection of books, journals, online indexes and resources, and other materials in general biology, botany, ecology, environmental issues, evolutionary biology, and related areas. 

  • Databases are indexes of electronic information. This tab shows you how to access the databases particular to biology, and all the resources they contain including many scholarly journals online.

  • Use the Journals tab for information on finding and retrieving articles from our many online and print journals

  • The Books tab helps you find our books, whether specific titles or just a section of the library.

  • To find and use state and federal documents and other resources, use the Reference & Govt. tab

  • The Interlibrary Loans tab explains how to use the ILLiad system to borrow books and articles form other libraries.

  • Use the Research & Citations tab to get help properly citing your sources. RefWorks is citation software that can not only create bibliography pages, but also assist with your in-text citations.

    Evaluating Sources

    Every source needs to be assessed in some way, to determine if it has what you need and is worth your time and effort. 

    "If you put garbage in a computer, nothing comes out but garbage.  But this garbage, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled, and none dare criticize it." Anonymous

    If you use the Internet for academic research you should pay careful attention to the sites you use.  Below you will find tips that will help you evaluate websites and their content.  Remember anyone can post anything to the Internet and no one controls its validity or accuracy.

    • What is the purpose of the website- Is it designed to sell you an idea or a product.  Is the information biased, does it lead you to believe one point of view, or train of thought.

    • Who published the information on the site- It is essential to determine the source of the information published.  If there is no author listed or if the author is a corporation or other interest group take care to analyze the information presented to you.  If you are not familiar with the author search for them using a search engine.

    • Who is the audience- Most of the information you will find on the Internet is aimed at a general audience and may not be useful for academic research.  If you use a site for academic research you should make sure the information is presented at an academic level.  if you find a site you think is suitable for academic research compare its information with a trusted source to make sure it is reliable and accurate.  Also, look for documentation of facts on a site-if the author does not document their information this should warn you that the site is unreliable.

    • When was the site created/last updated- It is important to determine when a site was created or updated.  If a site has not been updated in a long period this should raise a red flag to its validity, as with all information the best research is done with the best information available at that time.

    • References- Look to see if other individuals refer to a site you want to use.  If other individuals are negative about a site you should seek out your information else where.

                                                    Tensen, Bonnie, L. (2007). Research strategies for a digital age. (Second Edition). Boston, MA:Thomson

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    Is it Peer Reviewed?

    Peer reviewed publications have been read and approved by scholars and professionals within the author's field prior to publication. Peer review indicates a higher quality of scholarship, and when doing research you should look for articles designated as peer reviewed.

    How do you find out if an article is peer reviewed?

    Check your journal in Ulrich’s Periodical Directory

    1. Select Montana Tech Library under Library Selector. 
    2. Select Advanced Search to the right of the large central search bar.
    3. Enter the title of the journal in the Title search bar.
    4. You can use the Limit Your Results option to narrow your search.

    No result? Change “Title Exact” to “Title Keyword”.

    Still no result?  Look in the article information for the ISSN number, copy and paste it into the search box, and change your Ulrich’s advanced search to ISSN.

    Several results?  Look for the one with the closest or exact title, and which matches the publishing location given in the article information. 

    How do I know?
    If the journal is peer-reviewed (or “refereed” as Ulrich’s calls it), you’ll see a little referee’s shirt (black and white striped) to the left of the title:  

    Still don’t know and really want to use the article?  Ask a librarian!



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