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Subject Guide

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Jacob Alden Sargent
Academic Commons 220
Entry level floor to the right near the color printer

Online Reference Sources

Initial Exploration

Initial Exploration

  • Physics Today: the flagship publication of the American Institute of Physics for current Physics news.
  • American Journal of PhysicsAJP publishes papers that meet the needs and intellectual interests of college and university physics teachers and students.
  • Physical Review Journals: Review journals published by the American Physical Society

Search Engines

Beginning your Research on a Physics Topic

Beginning your Physics Research

  • Follow your interest AND pay particular attention to the assignment you have been given. Make sure you understand what your Professor is asking for before diving into your research. Be sure to note any date or material type restrictions. (Example: Using peer-reviewed journals, locate articles from the past three years that explore . . . )
  • Note some topics that interest you and then brainstorm ways these concepts could be worded. Is there a common term for a concept as well as a technical/scientific term? 
  • Using the tools for initial exploration listed on the left, try to locate a few resources that address your topic. Once you have looked at a source, look at the questions in the adjacent box.

Physics Research and Writing Resources

​Once you have looked at a source, ask yourself the following:
  • Does this resource provide you with any new terms or concepts that should be incorporated into your research?
  • How does this resource address your subject and when was this published? Is there anything newer on the same issue?
  • What do you want to know more about after having read this? For example, does this resource problematize issues that seemed settled before? Or does it raise new areas and avenues of exploration entirely?

How does this resource fit with what you know about this topic? How does it add to the pool of material you have already examined?

  • Look for ways you can situate your research within the broader range of scholarship that exists on your topic. Can you expand upon an earlier discussion? Or provide a counterpoint?
  • Realize that the scope and focus of your topic will change the more information you locate, read, and analyze. Your preliminary research should help you figure out which aspects of your broader topic you are truly interested in focusing on; in later research, you can hone in on this narrow topic.