What I covered in class is just an introduction about how to conduct research. In 40 minutes I can only cover the highlights. This subject guide is a supplement to the library session and should give you some more hints about terms and resources that are available.
As you work on your paper and presentation, keep the following tips in mind when searching library catalogs for books and research databases for journal, magazine, or newspaper articles:
Books - you will tend to use more general terms
You might not find an entire book about your species. You might have to get more general by searching for the genus, family, or class to find a chapter, subchapter, or a few pages about your species.
Search for your species/genera/family/class along with "handbook", "guide", field guide", and "encyclopedia" as well as without those terms. Encyclopedias, field guides, guides, and handbooks are a great place to start!
Search for both singular and plural ("wolf" and "wolves", for example).
For some reason, the order in which you enter your terms sometimes matters. For example, searching for "birds and handbook" brings up a much different set of results than "handbook and birds".
Be more specific. For example, don’t use the term “predators” if you really mean “gray wolf”, "peregrine falcon", or "northern pike".
Remember to search for both singular and plurals. This is especially important if you are searching for a family or class of organisms. For example, search for both "mushroom" and "mushrooms".
Use scientific as well as common names. Articles will always use scientific names because there are many regionalisms in common names.