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This guide is designed to support the search for resources in chemistry.

Find background information

Use the resources on this page to get to know a new research area or choose a topic for a paper. These are not necessarily sources you can cite in a paper, but they will help you understand the basics and come up with keywords to use when you search for sources later.

Open web searches (Google, Wikipedia, etc.)

Feel free to begin your research on Google, as long as it doesn't end there. Use this time to try out different keywords for your topic.

Review articles

Many databases, including ACS, ScienceDirect, and SciFinder-n allow you to filter results to see only review articles. These kinds of articles give a broad overview of scholarship in a topic and are a good place to start your research. The databases section has more on these resources.


Try one of these specialized encyclopedias for expert-written articles on your topic, including citations to important sources.

Topic Encyclopedia
Analytical chemistry Encyclopedia of Analytical Science, 2019
Biochemistry Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry, 2021
Physical chemistry Encyclopedia of Chemical Physics and Physical Chemistry, 2001
Spectroscopy Encyclopedia of Spectroscopy and Spectrometry, 2017
Polymers Polymers and Polymeric Composites: A Reference Series, 2020
Green chemistry Green Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, 2019


Books are a great place to start your research because they take the time to explain things you may not understand (unlike journal articles). You don't have to read the whole book! Search for books using Library Search:


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Micaela Carignano
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