CMPT 120: Library Research Guide (Surrey, Spring 2011)
This guide is designed to help with your assignment for Philippe Giabbanelli's CMPT 120 class at Surrey.
If you need help, please contact Jenna Walsh, Indigenous Initiatives Librarian & Liaison for Archaeology, First Nations Studies and Political Science at 778.782.9378 or email@example.com or Ask a librarian.
Table of Contents
With likely over a million species of fungi out there, you should be able to find one for your assignment. The trick will be finding a fungus with sufficient information on the variables you need for your simulation.
Here are a few places to find overviews of fungi and to start browsing for your fungus:
- Fungi (part of the Tree of Life web project)
A good, brief overview of fungi that includes some information on the narrower divisions of fungi.
- Mycology Online
This site focuses on human and animal fungal infections. You could browse the 'Fungal Descriptions' section or check out the photo galleries.
- Fungus (Wikipedia entry)
This entry refers to many specific species, some of which will have Wikipedia entries of their own.
- Introduction to fungi by Webster and Weber (2007) (*electronic book)
A good overview of fungi, with more detailed information than the websites listed above. (If you are at home, you will have to log in to use this book.)
- Fungal biology by Deacon (2009) (*electronic book)
This title includes chapters on fungal growth, fungal nutrition, and environmental conditions for growth, and tolerance of extremes. (If you are at home, you will have to log in to use this book.)
Several books on fungi are available in the reserves area at Fraser Library (Surrey). You can borrow each of them for up to 24 hours, so please be considerate and borrow a book to work on it with your team, make photocopies, and then bring it back for another team. The following books are at the Surrey campus:
- Fungal biology: Understanding the fungal lifestyle by Jennings and Lysek (1999)
- The fifth kingdom by Kendrick (2000)
- Fundamentals of the fungi by Moore-Landecker (1982)
- Introductory mycology by Alexopoulos, Mims, and Blackwell (1996)
Searching with the subject heading fungi in the SFU Library catalogue will bring you a fair number of books that you could browse. If you find a book in the catalogue that is located at Bennett Library (Burnaby campus), you can either go pick it up from there, or ask for it to be delivered to Surrey. To have the book delivered to Surrey, click the 'request now' button above the catalogue record for the title(s) you want. It typically takes two business days for books to be delivered here from another branch. You can also limit your search in the catalogue to only electronic books. (You can access electronic books from on campus, as well as from home.) This will bring you a smaller number of books, but you will be able to access these books from home.
Once you have a possible species of fungi, you should search for information on the variables required for your simulation. Let's pretend that I have chosen botrytis cinerea as my species. I can likely find some useful information in online sources. (A quick aside about Wikipedia: be cautious of its reliability. Confirm the information against other sources, as anyone can change Wikipedia articles at any time [example]. However, the references section of Wikipedia articles can be useful, as well as the links section.)
Some of the information you need may be included in books on fungi. (To find books on fungi, see the last paragraph in 'Selecting a fungus'.) Once you have a specific species of fungus, you can also see if the library has books on that species. (Unless it's a well-studied species, chances are fairly good that we might not have any. But it's always worth checking.) If there are no books on that species, search using its genus. For my species, botrytis cinerea, the genus is botrytis. (If you forget the basics of biological classification, here are the divisions from broadest to most specific: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. FYI, you can also try broadening your search to the Family and Order level, as well.) Doing a keyword search in the SFU Library catalogue for botrytis cinerea brings back six hits, including one promising-sounding electronic book, Botrytis: Biology, pathology and control. A keyword search for my species' genus, botrytis, results in seven hits.
One important piece of information you'll need to find is the fungus' terrain (i.e., where it lives). My species, botrytis cinerea, can grow on various surfaces, including many fruits and flowers. In particular, sources frequently discuss botrytis cinerea growing on grapes and strawberries. So, I might select a strawberry as the terrain for my fungus.
If you are feeling particularly ambitious, you could search for articles on your species using SFU Library's Fast Search, Academic Search Premier or the Biological Sciences databases. Note: Most of the articles you find will be written by subject experts (i.e., researchers and/or academics) with an intended audience of other subject experts. Therefore, they will likely be very difficult to read without a good understanding of the species. Even then, you may struggle to understand the content of some articles because you aren't a subject expert.
There are many places you can browse to find an infectious disease for your assignment.
Here are some good websites to get you started:
- Infectious diseases (Public Health Agency of Canada)
- Fact sheets: Infectious diseases (World Health Organization)
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
There are also a number of online books you could browse, including these two:
- The infectious diseases manual
- Emerging infectious diseases: Trends and issues ("Part 2" of this book gives overviews of particular diseases)
You may also find some interesting titles in a search I ran in the SFU Library catalogue for the subject heading communicable diseases, limiting the results to only electronic books. Here are the search results.
If you want to choose a less common infectious disease, you could browse issues of the online journal Emerging infectious diseases. Keep in mind that more esoteric infectious diseases will have less written about them, so it might be more difficult to find the information you need for your assignment.
Chances are fairly good that you will be able to find enough information about the chosen infectious disease using the resources listed in the 'Selecting a disease' section above. In particular, I would recommend browsing for information on your disease at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in its A-Z list of diseases and conditions.
If you need to find additional information on the disease, you can search in the SFU Library catalogue for books that discuss it. A simple keyword search should probably result in finding at least one or two useful books with some information on the disease. For example, a search for lassa fever brings back eight titles. The most relevant-looking books are at Bennett Library (Burnaby). You can have these books delivered to Surrey by clicking the 'request now' button near the top of the page. It typically takes two business days to receive books from Burnaby.
The quality of your assignment is dependent on the quality of the sources you use for it. That's one good reason to think critically about the sources you use.
The difference between scholarly and popular sources
It's important to understand the difference between scholarly journals and popular ones. Here is an overview of their main differences:
|Scholarly journals||Popular magazines|
|Purpose: scholars sharing their research findings||Purpose: entertain and inform the reader, sell advertising|
|Articles written by: academics who are experts in their field||Articles written by: professional writers, not necessarily experts|
|Format: plain covers, graphs, charts, small ads from the publisher||Format: lots of colour, many illustrations and pictures, glossy, many advertisements|
|Content: lots of references (footnotes, in-text citations), bibliographies||Content: no references, no bibliographies|
|Articles are chosen by: the peer-review process||Articles are chosen by: what will sell more magazines|
|Examples: Journal of Nanotechnology in Engineering and Medicine, Theory of Computing Systems, Journal of Media Practice||Examples: Time, Macleans, Sports Illustrated, etc.|
For more information, see What is a scholarly journal?
The peer-review process is the process by which articles are selected for publication in scholarly journals. Before being accepted for publication, articles submitted by academics to scholarly journals are reviewed by their peers (i.e. by other academics in the field, who are on the editorial board for the journal). This ensures that the research published in scholarly journals meets certain standards of quality in terms of how the research was done, how the articles are written, and whether or not the articles contribute anything new or significant to the field.
Evaluating what you find on the web
Unlike academic journals, which carefully examine the quality of articles before they are published, anyone can publish on the web. This means the quality of information you find on the web can vary widely. Remember, just because a site comes up on your Google search doesn't mean it has any guarantee of quality.
Some questions to ask yourself when looking at websites include:
- Who is the author? What are the author’s academic or professional credentials? Is he or she affiliated with any institutions or organizations? Is the author a recognized expert in the area?
- Does the author cite his/her sources? Are there references or a bibliography? Can you verify the information elsewhere?
- What is the purpose of the website? Who seems to be the website's intended audience? Is the website sponsored by a company or organization that advocates a certain philosophy? Does the page contain advertising? If so, are the ads clearly separated from the content? Where do the page’s hyperlinks take you?
- How old is the information? Does the website say when it was last updated? Are many of the links broken?
- Does the information seem credible based on other sources you’ve read?
About Wikipedia - be cautious of its reliability. Confirm the information against other sources, as anyone can change Wikipedia articles at any time (example). However, the references section of Wikipedia articles can be useful; also the links section.
It is always important to cite your sources. Citing your sources allows you to give credit to the original researchers, to point your reader(s) to where you found information, and to show that you know how to correctly cite sources.
A citation must appear in two places in your paper:
- in the body of your text ("in-text citations")
- in the reference list (at the end of your paper)
For in-text citations, your instructor has provided the following specific instructions
It is very important to be able to link a source that you cite in your report to the list of references at the back of the paper. When you cite a source, write the code for the reference in square brackets [ ]. For example, if you say "It has been found that fungi develop blah blah...", at the end of this sentence you have to say where it has been found and give the reference with [ ].
The code for in-text citations is as follows:
- If there is more than one author: take the first letter of the last name of the first three authors (or less), followed by the last two digits of the year.
- Example: For a work by the authors Giabbanelli, Alimadad, and Dabbaghian published in 2010, the code would be [GAD10].
- Example 2: If the work's authors are Thompson and Brown and the publication year was 1985, the code would be [TB85].
- If there is only one author, take the first three letters of the author's last name, followed by the last two digits of the year.
- Example: If you have a work by author Zhang from 2000, the code would be [ZHA00].
This code is what you will put in your text. So that we can link the code to the references, also put it in front of each reference.
At the end of your report, you must have a section named References in which you will list all the sources you have used. For your list of References, you should follow APA citation style, except that each reference should begin with the in-text citation code. SFU Library's APA style guide shows you how to cite a variety of document types, including book chapters and journal articles.
If you have questions about doing research, please ask a librarian.