Physical Sciences 107 – Nanoscience in Society – Napoleon

Nanowire Firecracker

“Nikhil Tiwale and Stanko Nedic: The Nanowire Firecracker” by Engineering at Cambridge, CC BY 2.0.

About this Guide

This guide provides students with recommendations for finding and evaluating information on topics related to nanoscience. Use the tabs above to navigate through the pages of the guide.

Your Assignment

Find enough information to write a technical report or essay on your assigned topic. Use this library exercise to help write this paper. You must use at least three different sources (one must be from a reference work or a book, the other two articles from a journal or science magazine). You will probably need to use more to cover your topic. Your report should be at least 2 to 3 pages long, word processed, double-spaced, proper referencing (MLA or ACS style), and include a bibliography. You will also give a short presentation about your topic.

Paper Writing Assistance

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Library Tutorials

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Explore the library’s online tutorials.

Research Process

Reference Sources

Reference sources are a great place to find scientific terms, definitions, and background information on your topic. To access online library resources from off campus, enter your Pipeline username and password when prompted.

Online Reference Databases

  • Credo Reference contains the full text of over 600 encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books covering all major subject areas.

Reference Books in the Library’s Collection

Technical Writing Manuals in the Library’s Collection

  • Handbook of Technical Writing — 808.066 A459h 2012
  • Professional and Technical Writing Strategies: Communicating in Technology and Science — 808.0666 V217
  • Writing for Science — ebook


Search the library catalog (books+)for books on your topic. The library’s collection includes both print books and online ebooks. Your search results will include articles as well. Limit to books by choosing the appropriate box from the menu to the left of the results.

Keyword Search: nanoscience, nanotechnology, nanotechnolgie, technology and engineering


Articles from periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) often provide the most current information on a topic. Some periodical articles are more scholarly than others. To find periodical articles on your topic, search through the library’s databases or some of the freely available resources listed below.

Magazine vs. Journal Articles

Before you search, you need to know the difference between “magazine” and “journal” articles. Journals are also referred to as “peer-reviewed” or “scholarly” sources.A brief explanation can be found here:

Luria Library Journals on Nanoscience

Library Databases

The following subscription databases will require you to log in with your Pipeline information from off campus:

  • Academic Search Complete is a great starting point for research on any topic. This database provides full text for more than 8,500 periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals), including full text for nearly 7,300 peer-reviewed titles, in all subject areas. The database includes PDF content going back as far as 1887. Searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,400 journals.
  • MasterFILE Complete contains the full text of nearly 2,400 periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals), over 850 reference books, and more than 100,000 primary source documents in all subject areas, with content dating back to 1917. It also includes more than 1.5 million photos, maps, and flags.
  • Medline includes citations and abstracts for journal articles in medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the pre-clinical sciences. Some full text articles are available. Created by the National Library of Medicine.

Freely Available Resources

Online scientific journals and articles can also be found through these non-subscription resources:

  • Nanoscience and Nanoengineering “is an international peer-reviewed journal that publishes original and high-quality research papers in all areas of nanoscience and nanoengineering.”
  • Directory of Open Access Journals “is a service that provides access to quality controlled Open Access Journals.”
  • Highwire Press Journals allows users to browse for free scientific articles.
  • MedlinePlus is “The National Institutes of Health’s Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand.”
  • PLOS (Public Library of Science) One is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication, with primary research from any scientific discipline.
  • Use Interlibrary Loan to request articles not available for free.

Evaluating Websites

Figuring out whether the information you find online is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Questions to help you determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: How and why the source was created. Is it intended to educate, inform, persuade, sell, or entertain? Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors state this purpose, or try to disguise it? Why was this information published in this particular type of source (book, article, website, blog, etc.)? Is the source designed for the general public, students, or experts?
  • Relevance: The value of the source for your needs. Does the type of source meet your assignment’s requirements? Does the information answer your question, support your argument, or add something to your knowledge of the topic? Is it too general or too specific? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information. Do the authors present the information thoroughly and professionally? Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong, emotional, manipulative, or offensive language? Do they leave out, or make fun of, important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information. Do the authors support the information they present with strong factual evidence? Do they cite or provide links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic? Can you verify the information in other credible sources? Does the source contradict itself, include false statements, or misrepresent other sources?
  • Expertise: The authority of the creators of the source. What makes the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the source authorities on the topic? Do they have related education, experience, or other expertise? Do they provide an important alternative perspective? Has the source been reviewed in some way, such as by an editor or through peer review?
  • Newness: The age of the information. Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as science, technology, or current events), or could information found in older sources still be useful? When was the information presented in the source first published or posted? Are newer sources available that would add important information to your understanding of the topic?

Beware Filter Bubbles

A filter bubble or echo chamber is the result of website algorithms designed to determine which content you want to see and which you don’t, based on your past behavior and other information about you. Over time, the web content you see represents an increasingly narrow range of information and ideas, and you are exposed to fewer and fewer experiences, ideologies, and perspectives that differ from yours.

For more information about echo chambers and filter bubbles, check out our Fake vs. Real News research guide, or watch this TED Talk by Eli Pariser:

Recommended Websites

The following magazine websites include online articles, blog posts, and other reliable information related to nanoscience:

Web Directories

The web directories below allow you to search for information from lists of reliable websites:

  • offers access to “200 million pages of authoritative U.S. government science information including research and development results.”
  • World Wide Science is “A global science gateway comprised of national and international scientific databases and portals.”

Citation Guidelines

Use either ACS or MLA style for your citations. The Purdue OWL provides guidelines for MLA style, as well as useful guidelines for annotated bibliograpies and examples of annotations.

MLA Guidelines

ACS Guidelines