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Mazza, Andrea. "Cardiac muscle." Photograph. 29 November 2013. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Getting Started
  1. To search for BACKGROUND information, use Credo Reference
  2. To search for BOOKS and DVDS owned by Sage, use the Libraries Catalog 
  3. To search for JOURNAL ARTICLES, use Academic Search Elite , ProQuest Biology or Science Direct
Find Background Information
Almanacs, dictionaries and encyclopedias are often a good starting point in the research process as they provide background information on a topic. They can also be used to identify key people, events and dates that can be used to find additional information on a topic. Try one of these online reference sources when searching for background information:

Credo Reference
An online reference library containing dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri, books of quotations and atlases. Credo Reference also offers a range of subject-specific reference books.

Gale Virtual Reference Library
Reference books in a database format. The sources include multi-volume encyclopedias in history, social sciences and more.
Find Journal Articles
The following are the suggested databases for Biology:

Academic Onefile
A multi-disciplinary database containing thousands of journals and reference sources.

Academic Search Elite
Provides full text for more than 2,100 journals, including more than 1,700 peer-reviewed titles. It covers a wide variety of topics including computer sciences, engineering, physics, chemistry, language and linguistics, arts & literature, history, and ethnic studies.

Produced by the National Library of Medicine, MEDLINE provides authoritative medical information on medicine, nursing, the health care system, pre-clinical sciences and more.

ProQuest Biology
Covers a wide range of biology topics.

ProQuest Science & Technology
A subset of 10 databases covering science & technology

The search service for the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

Sage Journal Portal
Access to thousands of online journals, magazines and newspapers covering a broad range of disciplines.

Science Direct
A collection of scholarly journals covering science, technology, medicine, social sciences and humanities.

A research discovery tool that allows you to explore the CAS databases containing literature from many scientific disciplines including biomedical sciences, chemistry, engineering, materials science, agricultural science and more! Please note: this database requires a special registration.

Locating Journal Articles

Many of these databases, provide full text coverage. You will often see links that you can click on to connect directly to an article. Look for "PDF Full Text," "HTML Full Text" or "Linked Full Text" somewhere on the page. Examples are below:

 The Find Full Text symbol indicates that Sage may own the material, but it is housed in a different database or journal. Clicking this link will bring you to the article in full text, if owned by Sage.

If full text access is NOT available through the Sage databases, you may request the journal article via Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

If you have a citation for a specific journal or newspaper article, click here for instructions to learn how to locate the article using the "Journals A-Z" portal.
Find Scholarly Journals Articles
What are scholarly journals? Scholarly journals, which may also be peer-reviewed or refereed journals, are academic journals that contain material that is intended for scholars or researchers in the author's field of specialty. Publishers of peer-reviewed or refereed journals follow a process where experts in the field evaluate submitted articles before they are accepted to be published. This ensures that the content is as valid and reliable as possible.

How do I know if a journal is scholarly? Scholarly journals can often be identified by searching our library research databases. Many of those databases, like EBSCOhost and ProQuest, allow you to limit your search results to only those journals that are peer-reviewed or scholarly. Some databases, like ScienceDirect, include only scholarly material.

Find Scholarly Journals in Academic Search Elite

If you are in the "Basic Search" mode in Academic Search Elite, Scroll down under "Limit your results" and you will see the "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" box in the right column.

If you are in the "Results List" screen, look in the left column for "Limit to...,"click on the "Show More" link and you will see a "Peer Reviewed" box on the next screen.

Find Scholarly Journals in ProQuest Databases

If you are on the main search screen, check the "peer reviewed" box under the search box.

If you are on the "Results" page, look in the right column and click on "Peer reviewed" under the "Narrow results by."
Find Books

Search the Sage Libraries Catalog for books, eBooks and DVDs:

A keyword search is the default search option in the Libraries catalog. Use the catalog's "Advanced Search" to search by author, title, call number, ISBN number or subject. You may also limit your search to a specific library (Albany or Troy).


RESEARCH TIP: Use a thesaurus to find synonyms to expand your keyword searches.

To find the book on the shelf, you will need to know the library (Albany or Troy), shelving location (Main, New Books, etc.) and call number. This information can be found on the item record (see example below).

If you find a book in the catalog but it is on the opposite campus, in storage or otherwise unavailable, use the "Place Hold" function to request the book. Click here for a short tutorial explaining how to place a hold on an item.


All eBooks owned by Sage can be found by searching the Libraries' catalog. You may also search these collections separately.

Ebook Collection
A collection of over 10,000 eBooks covering a wide range of disciplines.
Ebook Central
A collection of over 70,000 eBooks covering a broad range of subjects.

eBooks may be downloaded to an eReader device. See here for downloading instructions.

Not finding what you need?

Try searching WorldCat, a catalog of books, media and journals in libraries around the world. You can use Sage's Interlibrary Loan service (ILL) to borrow books from other libraries.
Search for an item in libraries near you: >>
Subject Specialist
Lisa Brainard
Other Subject Guides:
Chemistry & Biochemistry
Environmental Studies
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Citing Sources

General Online Guides

Purdue Online Writing Lab

Copies of the major style manuals can be found at the Information Desk in either Library.
Evaluating Websites
There are numerous websites and blogs available on the internet but some may not be accurate, creditable or useful. Therefore, you should always carefully evaluate a source - no matter how reliable it seems to be - before using it for your research. Use a TRAP to evaluate materials for quality.

Click on thumbnail for larger image
Keyword Search Tips
  1. Break down your topic into smaller concepts and identify synonyms for those concepts.
  2. Use "AND" to combine terms in your search, i.e. "biotechnology AND farming"
  3. Use "OR" to expand your results, i.e. "global warming OR climate change"
  4. Use QUOTATION MARKS to delineate a group of words as a phrase, i.e. "drug-resistant bacteria"

For more search tips, see one of these tutorials:

Browsing Biology Books
The Sage Libraries uses the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system to organize its book collection.  The majority of biology books can be found in the following sections:
GC Oceanography
GE Environmental Sciences
GF Human Ecology
Q Science (General)
QH Natural History - Biology
QK Botany
QL Zoology
QM Human anatomy
QP Physiology
QR Microbiology
R Medicine
S Agriculture
Plant Culture
SD Forestry
SF Animal culture
SH Aquaculture
TD Environmental technology