How to Deal with Paywalls
You found an article but it says you have to pay for it. Do this instead:
Copy the title of the paper into the UMN Libraries search. If you get zero results it might not be available through the library. Proceed to the next step: request the paper using Interlibrary Loan.
- InterLibrary Loan & Digital DeliveryInterlibrary Loan (ILL) & Digital Delivery offers access to materials needed for courses and research, including materials not currently available within the University of Minnesota Libraries, AND digital copies of articles and book chapters from our print and microform collections. Free for currently-affiliated University students, faculty, and staff.
UMN Library Databases
Databases gather certain types of scholarly information on a topic. I arranged these from the most broad (Google Scholar searches any "academic content" on the internet) to the most specific (GeoRef searches scientific articles and conference papers on geoscience topics only).
- Google Scholar (Setup connection to get to PDFs)Use Google Scholar to find articles from academic publishers, professional societies, research institutes, and scholarly repositories from colleges and universities. If you are using from off-campus access, change the "Library Settings" to University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Look for the "FindIt@U of M Twin Cities" links in your Google Scholar search results to access full text and PDFs. View this tutorial to learn how to go from a general idea to a very precise set of results of journal articles and scholarly materials.
- Libraries SearchSearch the University of Minnesota Libraries to find books, scholarly journal articles, news, magazines, media, and other items in the University's collection. View this tutorial to learn how to go from a general idea to a very precise set of results of journal articles and scholarly materials.
- Web of ScienceA comprehensive interdisciplinary collection of journal article citations. Subjects generally covered are within science and technology, arts and humanities, and social sciences. View this tutorial to learn how to go from a general idea to a very precise set of results of journal articles and scholarly materials.
- KnovelOnline access to books, databases, and conference proceedings from a number of publishers that cover all areas of engineering and includes content relevant to related sciences (e.g., chemistry and earth sciences). It includes interactive graphs and tables.
- GeoRefSearch tool for scholarly research about the geosciences. Includes journal articles, books, conference proceedings, government publications, theses, reports, and maps.
Look up your topic in these professional resources...
Elements from the Geochemical Society
EOS from the American Geophysical Union
Geology Today from the Geologists' Association and the Geological Society of London
Life Cycle Analysis from the National Energy Technology Laboratory, NETL.doe.gov
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL.gov
You can also look up your topic in these major journals.
- Nature Very Important interdisciplinary journal.
- Science Another Very Important interdisciplinary journal.
- Geophysical Research Letters Important journal that covers most geoscience disciplines. From the American Geophysical Union.
- Annual Reviews are journals that publish review articles (overviews of a topic).
- You can also search Web of Science or Scopus for a topic and filter results for review articles.
Information about energy lifecycle analysis is published in many places. Do broad searches in Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus to find primary sources.
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- Media Production GuideEverything you need about actually making the video! Info about equipment reservations, software, using images and video in your project, how to cite your sources in a video, and more.
What is a Primary Source?
Primary sources are the best type of source to use for a research assignment.
Why? They are sources created by people who are closest to your topic. Scientists, researchers, the people who study energy systems, or people who manage them. You want sources from people who are as close to your topic as possible.
What counts as a primary source?
- New research in a reputable journal
- Government documents
- Statistical data
- Research reports
If you can't find an original source, look for a secondary source -- an authoritative analysis of a primary source.
- Scholarly analysis
- Review articles
Secondary or tertiary sources can link you to primary sources.
A secondary source is a couple degrees of separation away from a primary source. You might start at a news article or a Wikipedia page. If the thing you found is describing someone else's original research, you're not at a primary source yet. Keep digging. Go to the original study if it's linked. If a scientist is interviewed, look up what papers they've written.
Don't stop until you get to a source by an EXPERT IN THE FIELD.
- Look up words, phrases, or concepts you don't know.
- Find more information about the authors of the sources. Is it written by someone who does research in that field? What is their field/department? Is it written by a science writer, aka a journalist who reports on research?
Charlotte Moore, a science communicator, summed up this process nicely:
How do I learn things? Pt. 1 by @cavatica on TikTok, 2020-11-30
How do I learn things? Pt. 2 by @cavatica on TikTok, 2020-12-01