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First Year Seminars: FYS 124 A Dying Ocean

The Research Process

Finding Background Information

For the in-class activity, please record the sources you find in this online Word document.

Scholarly Encyclopedias

Gale Reference eBooks will let you search our customized selection of online encyclopedias. These resources can help you get started with your research by providing historical context, new keywords, and solid background knowledge. One strength is that you can choose encyclopedias written from the perspective of different disciplines so you can learn more about your topic through different academic lenses.

For the in-class activity: search for "wave power" or "wave energy" (with the quotation marks) should give you some good starting points.

Popular Science Publications

We subscribe to a lot of popular science magazines you can use to learn about the basics of your research topic. Here are just a few examples:

For the in-class activity: if you decide to explore one of these, look for an option to either search previous issues for "wave power"

Books and Book Chapters

You don't always have to read a full book to get what you need. Sometimes you can find a title with a chapter or two to support a project like this one, though. MUSCAT Plus is the search tool you can use to check our collections of books, ebooks, streaming films, and more. Just change your search from "Everything" to "Library Catalog (MUSCAT)" so you can perform a more targeted scan of what we've got.

For the in-class activity: a search for "ocean wave power" or "tidal power" or "tidal power-plants" (again, including the quotation marks) should help you get started


Google is a fantastic resource, and it's going to help you find all sorts of useful background information. The biggest downside to Google is that it retrieves results from so many different places and buries you in results. One way to be more intention is to perform a site search that tells Google to only check specific websites or domains. You do this by entering site: immediately followed by whatever URL or top-level domain you want to search and then a space and your keywords just like normal.

site:[URL or domain]_[keywords like normal]

For example:

  • wave power will only search for results from US colleges' and universities' websites
  • wave power will only search the US Energy Information Administration site for results about wave energy
  • wave power will only search for Scientific American articles about the topic

Finding Scientific Articles

When it's time to find peer-reviewed scientific articles, here are a few databases that can help: