BIOL 19701 Bird Brains and Mind Games: Animal Consciousness

Best Bets: Scholarly Articles

The databases below contain in- depth articles and information on the subject of Animal Behavior, as well as other topics covered by important journals in life science. 

ScienceDirect searches many resources in lots of branches of science. Limit to "Journals" to get peer-reviewed articles. You may encounter articles that aren't related to your search (for example, "birds AND grief" leads to many articles about how humans grieve), so use the limiters on the left hand side of your results screen to improve your results.

Biological Abstracts
Biological Abstracts searches sources in biology. Like in Science Direct, you'll probably want to limit to "Journals" when you search. Also be aware that full-text might not be available for everything in this database. Use the "Get It" links or search for the individual journal on the library website if you don't see the full text of the article included.

PsycINFO searches a variety of publications in the fields of psychology, sociology, education, and others. It has articles on animal behavior, but to find them, you'll want to limit your results to "animal" under the "Population" option, and use your animals name as a search term.

Primary Vs. Secondary Sources in Science

Primary Sources in science typically report facts about discoveries, observations, experiments and tests. Examples include published results of research studies, scientific experiments and clinical trials, and proceedings of conferences and meetings

Secondary Sources analyze and interpret research results and scientific discoveries. Examples of these include publications about the significance of research or experiments, analyses of clinical trials, and reviews of the results of several experiments or trials.

Adapted from Pitt.libguides Animal Behavior - Johnstown Campus

Other Suggested Journal Databases

Academic Search Premier
Academic Search Premier is a general database that covers nearly all fields. It tends to return a large number of results, and is best to use when you're stuck or if you're looking for interdisciplinary sources.

JSTOR provides access to academic journals and primary sources in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
By default you will be placed in the advanced search screen. In the Narrow by: Select the item type - Article. Under Narrow by discipline you can select more than one discipline.  Select whicever discipline(s) that are relevant to your research. For this assignment, select BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, PSYCHOLOGY and ZOOLOGY. 

PubMed has a more biomedical focus. Articles in PubMed may be useful, but are likely to be much more technical. 

Contact Us

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Natural Sciences Librarian
(607) 274-3889

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Reference Sources

Start your research by looking at a reference source. You can use wikipedia, but use it safely - this means using it for keywords or to follow up on citations. You can also use the Encyclopedia of Life online to get information on animals. It contains detailed information about every species. Whichever you use, don't forget to note scientific names and other useful keywords!

Searching for Books & ebooks

The following is a list of Subject Headings to locate different books on a specific subject. Click on one of the links below to view the list of books and e-books available in the Ithaca College Library.

These Subject Headings can also be searched as keywords in on-line databases.

Animal memory
Animal behaviour
Animal Psychology
Animal Intelleigence
Emotions in Animals
Cognition in Animals


Finding a topic

Sometimes finding a topic can be easy: you may have heard a story on the news, read an article in a newspaper or science blog. If you haven't already seen something that interests you, you can turn to popular science sites for inspiration. If you find a useful article, you can follow up on their sources. Here are some places you can start:

BBC Earth
Stories about recent science discoveries with great photos.

New York Times Science Section 
Well written reviews of recently published research.

Science News
Scientific research written in easy-to-understand language.

Scientific American
All aspects of science and technology.

New Scientist
Science for the scientist, written with a humor and flair!

io9 collects science-related stories and puts them in clear language. Sometimes they're a little sensationalist, but they usually link to original studies/articles.

Citing Sources Using APA

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  is the style manual of choice for many disciplines in the social sciences. The current edition is the sixth (2010).

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