EPS 82: Introduction to Oceans

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  • Brian Quigley
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About this Guide

This guide provides information on recognizing and finding peer-reviewed articles for your group presentation on Oceans in the News.

What is peer review?

Your assignment requires you to find peer-reviewed articles. These may also be called refereed articles. What does this mean?

Peer review is a process by which articles are subjected to rigorous and critical review by experts in the field prior to publication. It is a form of quality control. Generally, two or more expert reviewers (or referees) will evaluate an article to determine whether it is worthy for publication based on specific criteria:

The process

Once an article is published in a peer-reviewed journal, it may appear in print, online, or both.

Peer review is not a guarantee

Articles that are peer-reviewed have been carefully evaluated by experts but this does not mean that everything in the peer-reviewed literature is correct. Results published in peer-reviewed articles may later be found to be unsound or may be contradicted by new findings. The continual re-evaluation of previous research findings is one of the primary mechanisms by which scientific understanding is advanced.

(Adapted from the Bio 1b Scientific Literature guide by courtesy of the Bioscience & Natural Resources Library)

Campus Library Map

Click on the image below to see a larger interactive version of the campus library map.

UC Berkeley Library campus map

You can also view/download a PDF map of library locations. For library contact information and building addresses, visit our directory.

Recognizing peer-reviewed articles

How can you tell if an article has been peer-reviewed? Try looking for clues in the article itself:

Peer-reviewed articles may not exhibit all of these criteria but they can be good indicators of peer-review.

(Adapted from the Bio 1b Scientific Literature guide by courtesy of the Bioscience & Natural Resources Library)

Off-campus Access to Library Resources

Before you can access UCB Library resources from off campus or via your laptop or other mobile devices, make sure you have configured your machine using one of two simple methods (Proxy Server is the quickest and easiest):

Proxy Server
After you make a one-time change in your web browser settings, the proxy server will ask you to log in with a CalNet ID when you click on the link to a licensed resource. See the setup instructions, FAQ, and Troubleshooting pages to configure your browser.  Make sure you check the proxy configuration before you start researching.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
After you install and run the VPN "client" software on your computer, you can log in with a CalNet ID to establish a secure connection with the campus network.

Article Databases

Search an article database to find citations (title, author, title of journal, date, page numbers) for articles on a particular topic. The Library gives you access to over 200 article databases covering different disciplines.

The two databases listed below are excellent starting points for your research. Oceanography and the earth sciences are very interdisciplinary subjects, however, so you might also need to try databases focusing on related disclipines. Check our Article Databases by Subject list to choose Recommended databases in appropriate subjects.

Building a Search

Think about your keywords, and their synonyms and variations, before constructing your search. Since different authors might use different terms for the same concept, searching with synonyms helps you find more articles related to your topic. Take advantage of database search techniques to find the most relevant articles for your research. Here's an example:

(global warming or climate change) and (agricultur* or farm*)

What search techniques are being used in this example?

Here are two images from the Library Workshop 101 tutorial on Basic Search that further explain these concepts:


Visual explanantion of AND and OR with Venn diagrams

For a fuller explanation of these, view the Basic Search tutorial.

Where's the PDF?

Once you've searched an index to find articles, you may need to use UC-eLinks to link to a PDF or html file if the full text is not immediately available. Each database is a bit different, but a good rule of thumb is this: when you see the UC-eLinks icon, click on it to view your article access options, which can range from full text to a call number to an Interlibrary Loan request:

UC e-Links image

For more information, here's a tutorial on using UC-eLinks.

Ask a Librarian 24/7 Chat

You do allow embedded content.

You can type your question directly into this chat window to chat with a librarian. Your question may be answered by a reference librarian from Berkeley, from another UC campus, or another academic library elsewhere in the US.  We share information about our libraries to make sure you get good answers.

If the librarian can't answer you well enough, your question will be referred to a Berkeley librarian for follow-up.

Have fun chatting!

Getting Help

Other ways to get help:  in person, by e-mail, using specialized chat services

And, of course, feel free to e-mail Brian.

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