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Professional Skills: Home

Library guide for professional skills courses in the Sciences.

Welcome to Bell Library

The library website is your gateway to finding and accessing the research articles you will need to complete your assignments. The website is available at

This guide will show you how to use the library website to find research articles, and explain how to get help when you need it.

You will need to log in to the library website when accessing library materials off campus. When prompted use your Island ID and your password, just like logging in to Blackboard. Once you have logged in, you can use library tools and content the same way you would from a computer on campus.

Getting Help

Ask Us

If you need help with anything - please ASK US. Click one of the buttons labeled "Ask Us" on the library website to get started.

Contact Your Librarian. 

You can also contact me directly (info on the right side of the screen). I am available for virtual or in person consultations to discuss your research questions. 

Finding Research Articles

What types of information sources will you use this semester?

You will need to find both find original research articles and review articles. Both types are published in peer reviewed journals. Some are available free on the Internet, some are behind paywalls. Library subscriptions allow you to access a lot of (but not all) paywalled content. We subscribe to many journals, but not all.

Original research articles

Authors of original research articles propose a hypothesis and then prove or disprove it with their chosen method. The article reports the results of this experiment or study. Original research articles will usually feature the following:

  • introduction - this usually features a statement of the problem and a review of earlier research
  • method - a description of the experiment and how data was interpreted
  • results - what actually happened when they did the experiment
  • discussion - Was the hypothesis proven or disproved?  What are some avenues for further research?

Review articles

In review articles the authors discuss the findings of many original research articles written on the same topic. Review articles do not usually have methods or results sections as there is no new study being done. The review is a means to report on the current state of research in an area based on analyzing the existing original research articles regarding that area.


To help you distinguish between these two types of peer reviewed science articles, I have found an example of each.

Example of primary research article:

Nelms, S. E., Galloway, T. S., Godley, B. J., Jarvis, D. S., & Lindeque, P. K. (2018). Investigating microplastic trophic transfer in marine top predators. Environmental Pollution, 238, 999–1007.

Example of review article:

Zhang, H. (2017). Transport of microplastics in coastal seas. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 199, 74–86.

Finding research articles

This video demonstrates how to find peer reviewed articles on the library website using Quick Search and research databases.

Using keywords and filters

Here is a video about the utility of keywords and filters when you are searching for research articles to include in your bibliography.

Image of video to serve as a linking mechanisim. Select this link to watch the video.

Citation Management Tools

I want to introduce you to citation management software. This software can help you manage your sources like books and articles and all the information you need to create citations for them. The software will automatically scrape this information from the Internet and save it to your computer. You can also install a plugin to integrate Word and other word processor software to create both intext and reference list citations automatically based on a local database synced to a cloud account.

The following video is an introduction to Zotero.

Creating a Council of Science Editors (CSE) Bibliography

Zotero is able to produce citations and bibliographies in multiple formats; examples include APA, MLA, Chicago, and Council of Science Editors. Some are available as soon as you download the Zotero software. Other formats must be loaded before they are available in Zotero.

To produce a bibliography using the Council of Science Editors format:

  • Open Zotero
    •  First time users will have to download and install the software.
    • To take advantage of the cloud capabilities, create a Zotero user profile and sync your library.
  • Create a collection in your library for the bibliography project
  • Collect citation data
  • Double check citation data
  • Load CSE format - you only have to do this once. It will be saved by Zotero for the next time you want to use it.
  • Select items you want to include in the bibliography
  • Create a bibliography - select CSE as output format   

Science Librarian

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Alexa Hight
Bell Library, Room 115