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Genres & Age Categories => Non-Fiction (NF) => Topic started by: lily-stejskal on September 07, 2017, 05:13 PM

Title: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: lily-stejskal on September 07, 2017, 05:13 PM
Hi All.
Are scientific databases for zoology or environmental science (and the articles found in them) necessary for researching and writing a work of nonfiction for children about wildlife, nature and/or the environment?  Or are those usually only used for academic science papers?
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: dewsanddamps on September 07, 2017, 05:17 PM
Can you be more specific, lily? Do you mean do you need to research well (yes), or do you need to include a bibliography (varies with publisher)?
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: Vijaya on September 07, 2017, 05:42 PM
Lily, yes, you'll need to include a bibliography. I would actually make a footnoted version and a clean version because lots of times you have to check facts months after the research and the footnoted copy comes in very, very handy. Also, your editor will appreciate it.

Good luck, Vijaya
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: JulieM on September 07, 2017, 11:15 PM
I do often consult scientific publications ("papers") to get the original facts - i.e. not a "second hand" quote of the facts. (It's surprising how regularly you come across the same "fact" that people rehash without checking the source.) However, I also frequent trusted web sites such as FishBase and ARKive. National Geographic is also good, but must be double checked because they occasionally make errors.
It is recommended to find two independent trusted sources for each fact you cite in your manuscript, wherever possible.
One last tip: as Vijaya says, note down your sources as you are writing. If you don't, it can sometimes be very difficult to track them down again when you need them (when you send your ms and bibliography to publishers). It can be slow at first, but is worth it in the end.
Best of luck!
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: barbara-hare on September 10, 2017, 07:08 AM
Thank you for the suggested databases. I have an idea for a nonfiction PB that involves the weather. I will note these for future reference. I was curious if anyone uses Google scholar for research of this sort? I work in social science field IRL and use it sometimes for quick searches. And I am sure many of you are aware, but in case it helps someone, you can set up Google alerts for news on a subject that interests you.

Are there any other databases, or reliable websites to consider?
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: Vijaya on September 10, 2017, 07:23 AM
Barbara, I know many who use Google Scholar. I generally find my primary sources in research papers and get their contact info from the paper itself. For preliminary research, I do a search online with an eye to finding a few good books. Then, the papers.

As for databases, I use the free ones at the library to get access to peer-reviewed papers.

Reliable websites--I judge this individually. You don't always know who even is maintaining the website. For all you know, it's been given to a student for a summer project, and never fact-checked. Hence my reliance on the peer-reviewed papers and interviews.
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: lily-stejskal on September 13, 2017, 01:40 PM
Thanks, everybody.  Please let me know which databases you recommend using to do research for works of children's nonfiction, specifically works focusing on animals, nature and/or the environment.  Vijaya, what are some of the free databases that can be found at the library?
Please let me know.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: Vijaya on September 13, 2017, 06:20 PM
Lily, each county decides what databases to subscribe to. I used EBESCO through which most of the scientific articles could be accessed. Your librarian can help you with this. Also, many scientists put their published articles online in a pdf format.

Good luck, V.
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: lily-stejskal on September 30, 2017, 09:28 AM
What should I do if my local libraries don't subscribe to any scientific databases that could help me with environmental and/or wildlife articles?
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: Vijaya on September 30, 2017, 10:53 AM
Google or Google Scholar is your best friend. Many scientists put their research online.
Best of luck, Vijaya
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: lily-stejskal on September 30, 2017, 11:30 AM
Hmm.  What's Google Scholar?  Does it help  people find databases and/or the articles in them?
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: Vijaya on September 30, 2017, 05:17 PM
https://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/about.html
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: kwlarson on September 30, 2017, 06:27 PM
You can also get a certain number of free articles through JSTOR. I think it's 3 per month.
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on October 02, 2017, 08:11 PM
If you have a local university, you may be able to use their library as well. It can't hurt to ask.
Title: Re: Scientific Databases-Necessary or Not?
Post by: elia-ben-ari on October 17, 2017, 11:55 AM
Hi Lily-- You might also consider interviewing some scientists/subject matter experts in the field you want to write about. Most scientists are very happy to talk about their work, either in person or on the phone. Best of luck with your project.

Elia