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How to Conduct a Digital Literature Review

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The internet can be a great resource for scientific information, however you need to make sure your internet sources are reliable and the information you gain from them is truthful. The advent of the internet also allows students a unique opportunity to search through databases of scientific peer reviewed journals online and often get copies of full text articles from leading scientific journals without going to the library. This solution is a overview of online scientific databasing and how it can work for you.

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Solution Summary

In this solution I describe how to conduct a literature review online. The internet can be a great resource for scientific information, however you need to make sure your internet sources are reliable and the information you gain from them is truthful. I discuss journal databases, trusted websites, and the concept of peer-review.

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As a science student you will likely need to reference the scientific literature for writing lab reports, papers or conducting experiements. It is important to know what research has already been conducted on a topic before you formulate your own experiments. Using the internet you can get two types of information; 1) digital copies of peer-reviewed primary literature (such as published in the journal Science) and 2) background, non published and non peer reviewed, information, such as from research scientists' websites and medical sites like webmd. When using this second source of information, remember to consider your source, everything you read on the internet is not necessarily true; while these sites can be a good place to start, you should always use peer-reviewed literature as your primary references.
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