The “Anatomy of a Science Article” video by NC State touched on the various sections of a science article, including the Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (IMRaD). The last portion of the brief video also explored the References section, or in other cases, the Works Cited section. That part of the video sparked a reflection in my earlier days of scholarly writing and research when I was enrolled in the IB program at my high school and the first few semesters here at Wake. I remember feeling overwhelmed about where to start looking and what to search to obtain the information I was seeking. I remember learning how to use search tools similar to those listed on this website to help refine my searches and use databases like GoogleScholar before moving onto more complex databases like ScienceDirect and JSTOR. Those are all valuable skills to learn, but I realized that the gold mines of research were a relevant article’s reference page.
The references list gave me a starting point for other connected studies, literature reviews, articles, and papers. It took me down a rabbit hole of information relevant to the topic I’m researching, and this is something I still do today before moving on to curating a list of resources that I’d end up using for my final report. Before using Zotero, I would have a running document with links and titles of research. Now I usually have a designated main folder for the topic I’m researching, and I nest folders within it based on my use for the resource. For example, I will have a folder labeled ‘background research,’ ‘methods,’ and ‘discussion’ for a science paper to be a little more organized. This method tends to end in a myriad of tabs opened on my poor computer and my cursor lagging as a result, but it’s always worth it when I end up with a bank of relevant information that helps me form my argument.
Maybe this is a well-known strategy, but I thought it would be helpful to share it with those unaware of it and those new to research!