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BSCI 1510L Literature and Stats Guide: 2 Referencing and accessing papers

Introduction to Biological Sciences lab, first semester

2 Referencing and accessing papers

One of the most difficult aspects of starting a new project or working in a new lab is getting up to speed on the literature related to the topic you will be studying.  If you are lucky, your PI (principle investigator) or mentor will tell you what papers you should read.  If you are not so lucky or if you are working more independently, you will have to find the papers yourself.  Knowing how to find relevant papers on a topic is a critical research skill and one which can only be improved by practice.  The key feature that enables locating relevant papers is the reference section of a paper, so we will discuss that first.  Then we will discuss how to locate papers starting with the case where you know exactly what paper you need to look up.  Finally, we will discuss strategies for finding new papers through citations and keyword searches.