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This guide will help you begin your research in Geology through the library's collections and beyond.

Why Articles?

Articles give you a short focused treatment of up-to-date content. The articles in scholarly journals go through a peer-review Geological map of the United States in color, from the United Stated Geological Surveyprocess -- reviewed by experts -- before publication. The result is information that is more reliable.

Use articles from scholarly journals when you need original authoritative research; publications written by scholars or subject experts; factual documented information to reinforce a position; and references that point you to other relevant research.

Scholarly journals are published more quickly than books, although the peer-review process can be lengthy.

(A Tapestry of Time and Terrain, Vigil et al, 2000, USGS Investigations Series 2720.)

Popular Journals

Related & Multidisciplinary Resources

In addition to the Top Picks on the Home tab, these databases include earth science and multi-disciplinary content:

Scholarly, Professional, Popular? Evaluate:

What kind of information do you need?  If you are writing for a class assignment, you may be required to use peer-reviewed ("refereed") or scholarly sources.  In any case, you should always look for sources that are authoritative.

Scholarly Checklist -- Look for:

  • Authors listed, with credentials
  • Bibliography, references, or works cited
  • Reviewed by peers or experts in the subject
  • Published by a reputable publisher
  • Purpose is to inform or impart knowledge, not to sell, persuade, entertain
  • Appears impartial--few or no advertisements, no emotional language, unbiased
  • Includes data, observations, statistics, or graphics to support conclusions
  • Includes specialized or technical language or concepts

Authoritative Checklist -- A source can have authority even if it isn't scholarly.

  • Author and/or publisher is an expert on the subject, for example:
    • Manufacturer's catalogs
    • Legal or regulatory information
  • Author's affiliations and contact information are available
  • Publisher or sponsoring organization is reputable (e.g., for websites, look for the domain; .gov or .edu sites are more likely to contain unbiased information)
  • Cites scholarly or high-quality sources in references list/bibliography

Other Criteria to Consider -- These are not definitive, but worthy of consideration:

  • Do you see errors in spelling, grammar, data?
  • Is the publication in turn cited by other credible works published later?
  • How current is the information? (No date? Be suspicious.)