Professors Labroo and Michels, Librarian Nancy Cannon (Nancy.Cannon@oneonta.edu)
This guide is located under "Course Guides" on the left side of the Milne Library home page: http://libguides.oneonta.edu/phys382spring2014
The Publication process: primary, secondary, and tertiary sources
Primary sources are original works by an author. Examples in physics include firsthand reports of research such as lab reports as well as many journal articles. Most new research in physics is published in the form of journal articles.
Secondary sources summarize, synthesize, and/or analyze the results of original research. Examples include popular scientific magazines such as Discover and review articles. 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 are based on a collection of primary and/or secondary sources. Examples include guides to scientific literature, science textbooks, encyclopedias and dictionaries.
For academic research, it is often 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 Science. An example of a popular magazine is Time.
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. Reviews of Modern Physics (listed below) is another good choice.
Examples of print journals in Milne Library: Nature, Physical Review Letters, Physics Teacher, Science. There are many journals available full-text online that are not available in print. If articles are not available in print or online, articles can be obtained via Interlibrary Loan. The databases below are located on the Milne Library home page under the Databases tab.
If there is no full-text with the citation for an article in a database click on or Full Text through LinkSource. If a full-text version of the article is available in another database, there will be a link connecting you to that database where you can locate the article or search for the article by title or author.
You can also determine whether a journal is available electronically by entering the journal title in the search box under the Journals tab on the library home page. If the title is available in electronic form, check the coverage, click on the database link(s) and search for the item(s) needed.