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Getting Started with Research @ Reed Library: Welcome

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Icon of stack of booksAre you unsure where to start with your research paper or project? We understand navigating through thousands of library resources can be an overwhelming task, but we're here to help.

Use this guide to become better acquainted with us, our services, our resources, and the research process.undefined

Did You Know...

Friends! Did you know that legitimate scientists publish their research in academic journals? (not on YouTube)

This work, by K.M. Everson, is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Librarian Note: It is important to go beyond YouTube, Wikipedia, and Google for your research. While plenty of reputable scientists, scholars, and researchers share their knowledge online, you should follow up with peer-reviewed academic journals to ensure you are getting the most reliable information. That's where Reed Library can help you out -- we provide access to academic and peer-reviewed resources. 

Getting science published is a rigorous process. Let's break it down...
Step 1: Get an Education... Bachelor's, then more... Master's, then more...PhD... +1 or more "postdoc" positions

Librarian Note: To be clear, many undergraduates have published good science, usually under the supervision of more experienced mentors with advanced degrees. While most journals do not ask whether or not you have a degree, in some fields (e.g., medicine) the author is asked to disclose their educational background -- reviewers may take this into consideration. While academic degrees provide some indication of the mastery of a discipline, it is not a publication requirement in all academic journals. Take Jane Goodall, for example, she made a scientific breakthrough without a college degree.

Step 2. Conduct Research (This could be its own graphic)... Grant writing, lit review, lab work, experimental design, statistical analysis

Librarian Note: This type of research is also referred to as empirical research. Empirical research, or research that is based on observations and measurements of phenomena, often include the components listed in this infographic as well as a discussion section with interpretations and implications of the study, and, very importantly, a list of references.

Step 4: Submit to a journal. Important! So-called

Librarian Note: Predatory publishers will sometimes charge publication fees to authors without providing the editorial/peer-reviewer services provided by scholarly journals. There are, however, many reputable open access journals that are changing the academic publishing landscape. The Directory of Open Access Journals provides a list of reputable open access journals. Visit Beall's List to learn about potentially predatory publishers.

First check. A journal editor checks that your paper meets basic quality standards for the journal. For a top journal like

Librarian Note: This 80% is referring to papers rejected at this stage. Many more are rejected after the peer-review process.

Step 6: Peer Review, 2-3 scientists critique your paper. This process is often "double blind" (you don't know the reviewers and they don't know you.)
Step 7: First Decision. Based on the peer reviews, you receive a decision: 1. Reject, 2. Major Revisions, 3. Minor Revisions, 4. Accept. This almost never happens on a first submission.
Step 8: Revise. Tis might involve collecting more data, conducting new analyses, & lots of writing
Step 9: Re-submit. The average paper goes through 2 rounds of peer review
Step 10: Accepted! Did you know that scientists are not paid for the papers they write?
After publication... citation. Other scientists might  cite your paper or even try to replicate your results. If your results can't be replicated, the journal might retract your paper!

Librarian Note: This is an important point to keep in mind. Just because something was published in a peer-reviewed journal does not mean it is good. It does provide a vetting process, though. Other scholars or researchers might refute or challenge the interpretations or claims in another researcher's work, which allows for some self-correcting in the system. Scholarship is a continuous conversation that occurs over time. 

With science we can cure disease, develop new technologies, & learn more about our past & future. Science should be a source of hope (not fear & anger)
Being a scientist is demanding & rigorous. It helps when we have your support. Thanks for listening.

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Accessibility Statement: Reed Library is dedicated to making information accessible for everyone. If you notice an accessibility issue within this guide, please contact Katelynn Telford

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