Using Literature

Below are listed examples of different types of literature which may be useful in your career as scientists in the biochemical field. The list is not exhaustive.

Types of Literature

  1. Published standards
  2. Reference Works
  3. Biochemical references
  4. Books
  5. Reviews
  6. Citation, index and abstract
  7. Major Journals-literally hundreds!

Gathering information

    Prior to going to the library:

  1. Define the topic or information you need (check Biochemistry textbook). Try to define alternative names and terms to enhance the efficiency of the search.
  2. Consider what resources are needed

    Go to the library- seek librarians help and guidance

  3. Begin searching- (consider initial try a trial run)
  4. Conduct your search- Use boundaries to help narrow your search. (i.e., search only the years after the technique or compound was discovered.)

Technique References

  1. People
  2. Books
  3. Catalogues
  4. Technical support publications
  5. Journals (This list contains only representative journals that I use most - there are many others that are equally useful.)

What to expect when starting a new project

  1. You may need a combination of techniques from several references.- e.g. extraction or source, assay, techniques and instrumentation.
  2. Always look for more than one method or technique. Use the reference for the first method to locate related methods (Science Citation Idex works well for this).
  3. Information about chemicals that are needed:
  4. Description of methods
  5. Estimation of time to complete the project
  6. Equipment
  7. Scale

Working in a laboratory (especially outside your assigned area)

  2. Seek and follow tips and instructions on laboratory organization.
  3. Obtain instructions for equipment and devices you will use.
  4. Read manual if possible before using instrument.
  5. Put things back where you got them.
  6. Clean up your work area thoroughly.
  7. Be prepared to do maintenance on the instrument.
  8. You will be most welcome if you cause little disruption in the normal operation of the laboratory you are visiting. Most people are quite pleased to share their expertise but they do not want to do your project for you. They also expect the equipment and devices to be in the same state when you are finished as they were when you began. If something does break notify the laboratory supervisor.

Copyright, Acknowledgements, and Intended Use
Created by B. Beason (bbeason@rice.edu), Rice University, 11 June 1999
Updated 15 August 2000