Skip to Main Content

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

AOSC 401 Library Course Guide

Access this guide:                      

AOSC401 guide QR code

Scholarly Research

Primary Research: A primary research article is a direct report written by the researchers who conducted the original study.  Ideally a primary research article contains the original results or raw data and includes enough information for other experts to evaluate the results or reproduce the study.  Some examples of primary research includes: journal articles, conference proceedings, dissertations and thesis, technical reports, patents, data sets and lab notebooks.

Secondary Research: Generally in STEM, secondary sources summarize, condense, interpret or analyze one or more primary sources often with the goal to get a handle on the current state of knowledge on a topic.  Secondary research is generally written by experts in the field and draws conclusions based on research done by others.   Some examples of secondary research can include reviews, news reports, and analyses.  Evidence synthesis articles such as systematic reviews and meta-analyses are considered secondary research by some, and primary by others.

Tertiary Research: Tertiary research generally summarizes information from primary and secondary sources and is often written for those who are not experts in the field.  Tertiary research usually presents distilled information but a high quality, reliable source will cite the primary and secondary sources from which it is drawing.  Examples of tertiary sources include encyclopedias, manuals, dictionaries and some news sources.

This information is modeled on that presented in the University of Wisconsin- Madison Libraries Bio 152 Research guide.

Finding Research Articles

Databases are subscription resources that bring articles from a variety of magazines and/or journals into one place with a sophisticated search engine.  Many of the databases allow you to read the entire article online. Consult Database Finder for the full list of available subject databases.

Below you'll find links to the databases we discussed in class, but there are many others.  Use the Database Finder as your portal to research databases.

Search Tips

Search Tips

An asterisk (*) stands in for any group of letters 

SEARCHING: librar* 

FINDS: library, libraries, librarian

Quotation marks keep words together, and in order

“this is a phrase”    this is not


'AND' narrows your search and 'OR' broadens your search (see below)

AND/OR Boolean search diagram

    “global warming”                  “climate change”                 “global warming”                    “global warming”                              

                                                                                                    AND                                          OR

                                                                                             “climate change”                    "climate change”

                                                                                              (fewer results)                         (more results)

Citation Management

Support and Helpful Tools

Reload Button: Refreshes websites through UMD's proxies and will prompt you to login with your UMD credentials. If you find your resources outside of the Libraries webpages, use this to ensure UMD access.

Interlibrary Loan: Use Interlibrary Loan (ILL) to request materials UMD does not subscribe to or own. Great for requesting articles and book chapters!

Free Research Workshops: Sign up for workshops offered by the Libraries on a variety of research support topics including using citation managers, learning R, GIS, or LaTeX, and many more!

Professional Writing Program Modules: Check out this ELMS site for lots of resources for learning professional writing

Database Finder: A list of all the databases UMD has organized by type, subject, or alphabetical. Check out the subject listings for Librarian picked top databases by field!