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Chemistry LibreTexts

1.1: Using Scientific Databases and Chemistry Resources to Research a Topic of Personal Interest

  • Page ID
    213790
  • This project is an exercise in utilizing scientific databases and resources to research a project of personal interest. The project consists of three stages, leading to two assignments.

    1. Before you attend the library session on introduction to the chemical literature, think of two or three topics that hold your personal interest. The topics are open but must have an organic chemistry component. This simple step can make the library session much more interesting. If you cannot think of any topics, select a few from the list below or get some ideas from current interest issues by reading the science section of the New York Times, Discovery or Science magazines, or other major publications.

    2. After attending the library session, use the knowledge acquired to do a preliminary, broad search aimed towards finding information relevant to your topics. This process will reveal how feasible or how impracticable your project actually is in terms of finding accessible and digestible information.

    3. At this point you should be in a position to decide on one topic to be researched more thoroughly. Continue searching for information relevant to this topic until you have enough to produce a short, coherent report on the subject.

    SEE SYLLABUS FOR DEADLINES (Each assignment counts as a lab report)

    CHEM. LIT. ASSIGNMENT # 1 (1-2 pages). After attending the library session and doing a preliminary search on your topic, make a list of the sources used (e.g. SciFinder, Chemical Abstracts) and references to actual articles found in these sources. Referencing an article means to indicate the authors, source of publication, and date of publication. Do not summarize the article or describe the contents in any length. Precede this list with a brief introduction of your topic and why it holds your interest.

    CHEM. LIT. ASSIGNMENT # 2 (3-5 pages). Write a report on your findings, trying to give it a specific, narrow, and coherent focus, rather than a general, vague outlook. It must be informative to readers who do not know very much about the subject. Think of it as a piece of scientific journalism of the type you would find in the science section of the New York Times, Time magazine, or similar publications. Assume that your audience is made up of college science majors.

    This second assignment must have the following components;

    (a) An Introduction to the subject (why it’s important, etc.) – 20 pts.

    (b) Development of the topic (a historical approach might work well in a number of cases) – 40 pts.

    (c) Conclusions (what we have and have not learned, and what future directions might be) – 20 pts.

    (d) References (make sure to provide references to sources used, style is free, but MLA or scientific styles are recommended). The instructor must be able to find and verify the contents of the sources without any assistance from the author. – 20 pts.

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