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Gerstein Science Information Centre

CSB201: Molecular Biology, Biotechnology and You

To help CSB201 students find resources for the cancer case study project.

Using Web Resources

Although not scholarly, the internet will often be your starting point for topic ideas and background information. For your assignments, you can use the internet for preliminary research to find out more about your topic.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a great resource, especially when you are just getting started with your research. You will generally find a complete and well-cited overview of the topic. However, since anyone can add to Wikipedia, it's not 100% trustworthy.

As you are doing your research, use Wikipedia to help you find sources and understand what to look for - in other words, use it as a starting point for your research, but do not cite Wikipedia itself.

Why can't I just Google?

We love Google! It's a great place to start searching for information, but if you're only using Google or Google Scholar to do university-level research, you're missing out. Here are four good reasons to use the library when doing your research (besides the fact that your professor told you to):

1. Paywalls

Have you ever found a great article online, only to be asked to pay to view it? This happens to a lot of students, but you should never pay for articles because your tuition already gives you access to them through the library. Even if we don't have the article (or book or other material) in our collection, we can get it for you from another library at no cost to you.

2. Credibility

Dog at the keyboard says to another: On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.Literally anyone can publish something on the internet. So how do you know if a webpage you find is trustworthy or not?  There are lots of clues to help you figure it out, of course, but wouldn't it be nice not to have to worry so much?

When you start searching from the library homepage, you can trust that librarians have carefully reviewed and selected a collection of the best and most scholarly sources for you. Instead of searching on the free web, why not try a controlled environment that has been customized for U of T students?

3. Findability

We have hundreds of subject-specific databases that can help you find the best sources for your topic.  Most of these databases (including the library catalogue) use special tags to make results more relevant. You can use each search engine's filtering options to limit your results to the tags you want.

4. Diversity

“Library=books”, right? Well, yes, but that’s not the full story. University libraries have a huge variety of research materials that you probably wouldn't be able to access through Google. We’ve already mentioned scholarly journal articles, but we also have:

Google Search Strategies