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METR 392: Senior Seminar in Meteorology (Blechman): .

Scientific Research


  • How Science Works: Flowchart
    From UC Berkeley.
  • Peer-review in Science
    From UC Berkeley. For academic research, it is important to use peer-reviewed (or refereed) journals rather than popular magazines.  Peer-review is the process by which a journal article is evaluated by experts in the field.  An example of a peer-reviewed journal is Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.  An example of a popular magazine is Time.

Primary sources are original works by an author.  Examples in meteorology include firsthand reports of research such as lab reports as well as many journal articles.  Most new research in meteorology is published in the form of journal articles; e.g., original research published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.

Secondary sources can be used to find references to primary sources.  Books that are not the original work of the researcher are considered secondary sources.

Tertiary sources include guides to the literature and textbooks.


Review articles: It is often useful to begin your research with a "review article". A review article summarizes the current understanding of a topic using research articles previously published by other scientists. ScienceDirect has an option under Journals that allows for limiting a search to only review articles.

Library Research

Background information on a topic can often be found in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference sources. Reference sources provide background information on a topic, clarify definitions, and often include bibliographies which cite books and journal articles. The Encyclopedia of global warming and climate change located in the Milne Library Reference Collection, 1st floor REF QC981.8.G56 E47 is a good example.

Although Wikipedia usually should not be cited as a reference, Wikipedia articles often have extensive lists of references that can prove useful for beginning research.  For example the Wikipedia article on Climate Change includes an extensive list of references including information from NOAA and NASA. Although many Wikipedia articles can be edited by anyone with any point of view, the article on Climate Change has a "semi-protected" icon in the upper right hand corner : this means only established registered users can edit it. The Climate Change revision history statistics indicate the article is edited an average of every 1.2 days. The editor with the most edits is William M. Connolley.  Conservapedia includes an unauthorized biography of William M. Connolley, last edited in November 2011.  Conclusion: beware!


Books can be a good place to find an overview of a topic. References to journal articles and books can often be found in a bibliography at the end of a chapter.

Since journal articles are often more focused than books, they may provide more specific information than books. References to additional articles and books can often be found in a bibliography at the end of an article.

A few recommended journals:

Journal of Climate, full text from 01/01/1998 to present in Academic Search Complete

Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, full text from 09/15/1993 to present in Academic Search Complete

Monthly Weather Review, full text from 01/01/1997 to present in Academic Search Complete.  Includes some review articles.

The databases below are all located under the "Journals" tab on the Milne Library home page.

Where to Find Print Books

Classic Catalog (tab on the Milne Library home page) 

A quick way to find a print book in Milne Library. The library classic catalog does NOT include most ebooks or individual journal articles.
To view detailed information about an item, click on the number link on the left of the entry.
Availability is shown by numbers to the right  (e. g. 1/0). The first number is the number owned by the library; the last number is how many are checked out.Subjects are listed at the bottom of the detailed entry. These subjects will link to other materials on the same exact subject.

Search Everything


The search box on the Milne Library home page. Search Milne Library's collection for articles, books, ebooks, journals, and more.  Ebooks not in the Classic Catalog are available through "Search Everything."  Sometimes best used to get a sense of what is available on a topic. Can be limited to peer-reviewed journal articles. ***Does NOT include all titles from indexes such as GeoRef***.


Requesting an article through Interlibrary Loan:

You need to be registered to submit ILL requests (free to students). You can request articles (or register) through the Interlibrary Loan link on the library website.

Finding an Article from a Citation:

If you have the citation for a periodical article, click on the Journals tab on the library website and enter the title of the journal or magazine. The resulting list will indicate which database(s) include the periodical. Follow the databases, then either follow the links to the specific issue of the periodical, or enter the title article in a search box. If the library subscribes to the periodical in print or microform, the holdings will be indicated by linking to Oneonta Local Collection.


*Anyone* can publish on the Internet. Therefore, it is important to learn to evaluate any information found on the net.

U.S. government websites generally provide accurate information. can be used to search all U.S. government websites. U.S. government websites with information on meteorology include: NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and

Evaluating Websites:

Domain name registries around the world. It is possible to limit a search to a certain country or type of domain by adding the domain code in Google: Advanced Search. Another method to limit to a certain domain is to use "site:.domain name" as part of the search, e.g. autism

Five points to consider in the evaluation of a web site:

1. AUTHORITY: Who is responsible for creating the page? Does the URL contain .edu (education), .gov (US government), .org (organization) .int (international organization)? Or does the URL contain .com (commercial) or .biz (business)? Is it a personal site (.name)?

2. CURRENCY: Is there a date indicating when the page was created or updated? Is the information up to date? Are the links current and functional?

3. COVERAGE: What is the purpose of the site? Does it address your research topic? Is it detailed or broad? What kind of information is it providing: historical? background? statistical? factual? conceptual? a study?

4. OBJECTIVITY: Is the site expressing a slanted point of view or trying to sway your opinion?

5. ACCURACY: Can you verify that the information is correct? Are the facts consistent within the page? Do they match up with what you found in print sources? Are sources for the information cited?



Need More Help?

E-mail a question to a Milne librarian & get a response within 48 hours Monday through Friday.

Schedule a research consultation with a librarian to discuss your research project in depth.

Call the Research Help Desk at Milne Library at 607-436-2722.

Visit the Research Help Desk in Milne Library.