Google and Google Scholar
Google is a useful tool for searching but it can provide you with millions of hits, most of them irrelevant to your topic. Also, it indexes materials by popularity (not quality or relevance) so you are unlikely to find the best resources for your academic work.
Although Scholar will ensure that the results of your search will be academic materials, you may often be unable to access full-text. It is recommended therefor that you use Summon as your starting point to ensure seamless linking to full-text to articles in university collections.
TIP! Use Google with caution. Unless you are using a trusted academic, government or organization web site you will need to evaluate your information for accuracy, authenticity and currency. Tips on evaluating web resources
It is much easier to make sense of scientific papers if you have an understanding of the structure that they follow, and the majority of peer-reviewed original research articles follow the same structure and layout.
This structure is known as IMRAD and can be broken down into the following parts
I = Introduction
The Introduction provides the context and background of the research and the aims and objectives of the study.
M = Method
The method section will describe the methods and materials used in the study. This section addressed how the research was undertaken
R = Results
The results area will describe the findings of the research. The section may include tables or charts.
D = Discussion
This part of the paper evaluates and discusses the results
In some instances you might find the structure is slightly different, but normally an article will contain all of the above elements. Additional fields may include keywords, abstract, acknowledgements, conclusion and list of references.
What is an abstract?
An abstract is a summary of the research written in a small number of words (typically half a page at most).
They are often found at the beginning of dissertations, theses, or journal articles. The abstract should give you sufficient information about the research to recognise its significance and relevance.
The abstract is important because it provides a quick overview of the article without having to read through it entirely.
What is peer review?
What are Impact Factors?
The Journal Impact Factor is a method of ranking a particular title against others in the field. Ranking is undertaken annually and arrived at using a formula based on the number of times articles in a particular journal have been cited in the previous two years divided by the total number of articles published in the journal title in the last two years.
How do I find out the impact factor of a journal?