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Biology: Getting Started

A guide to library resources and research in biology and the life sciences.

Getting started: Biology literature searching

Tackling a new topic?

Try looking for a review article first.  Review articles attempt to summarize the state of research on a scientific topic.  While lengthy, & not generally including the very latest research, review articles are a great way to start to get a handle on a topic.  

Don't overlook the literature cited at the end of the review - the bibliography contains a wealth of information about the key discoveries & main researchers in the field.  

Most databases (including BIOSIS Previews, PubMed & Web of Science below) will allow you to limit your search to include only review articles or literature reviews.  


For articles describing primary research using scientific methods, written by experts in the field or scientists, try these biomedical, biology and life sciences databases:

Really not sure where to start? 

If you're beginning your research and are looking for articles in mainstream sources such as magazines and newspapers, aimed at a general audience, try:

  • Academic Search Complete:  to locate newspaper articles, select "newspaper" from the "Publication Type" options.
  • Nexis Uni: to locate newspaper articles in the New York Times: In the 'Find Publication' search box, enter: New York Times

Using Pivot

Pivot is a comprehensive database that users may search for:

  • funding opportunities, such as grants, fellowships, prizes, other types of funding within a broad range of disciplines. 
  • collaborating and publishing opportunities by viewing matching faculty from inside or outside Northeastern University.

Check out the Pivot YouTube channel for training on other topics or contact the library for additional help.

Use the Pivot search box below to start finding funding opportunities for you!

New Resources

New databases for the 2021-2022 academic year:

New encyclopedia and reference books for the 2021-2022 academic year:

Your Librarian

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Alissa Link Cilfone
she/her/hers
Contact:
a.link@northeastern.edu
617-373-2458

Upcoming Library Workshops and Events

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3D Printing is Here!

Interested in 3D printing?  Find out more about Snell Library's 3D Printing Studio!

Featured resource: JoVE

JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) is a science video resource that includes a variety of resources for use in the classroom and in the lab. It has two components:

  1. Science Education Video CollectionTeaching-focused videos including concept animations, ‘scientist in action’ videos to see concepts applied, and lab manual videos that cover preparation procedures for common labs
  2. Video JournalA peer-reviewed video methods journal, consisting of video demonstrations and detailed text protocols of new and standard methods in physical and life sciences. Students and researchers can see the details of experiments and concepts, in addition to text-based descriptions.

Below are a few links to components of JoVE relevant for Biology:

Need help?

For more immediate help, use one of the Ask A Librarian options. I'm also happy to meet for research consultations - please contact me for an appointment at a.link@northeastern.edu.