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Syracuse University Libraries

WRT 205/209: Public Discourse & the Writing of Science (Spring 2020): Getting Started

About this Guide

This guide is intended to point you to resources that will be useful WRT  205 sections exploring Science Writing inquiries. The guide is organized into the following set of pages (which you can see listed in tabs above).

Emphasis in this guide has been placed on materials that are available electronically and in full text.


    • Getting Started (below) features resources which allow you to get to know your topic. See how scientific concepts and topics are expressed across a variety of media and disciplines. These tools help you to find background information, determine what types of information is available, assist in defining terms, and offer overviews of controversies and periods.


    • Finding Sources in Library Databases features links to SUL's electronic databases, which will point you to articles and essays from scholarly and popular publications covering some of the many issues related to your topic of inquiry. This list includes resources where you are likely to find science writing from the mass media, the scholarly literature, and non-STEM fields.


    • Data & Statistics leads to ready access to databases that primarily aggregate sets of numeric data.


    • Photojournalism, Images & Maps contains links to material on websites, other library guides, free and open access databases and additional media that may contribute to your understanding of a topic from a visual perspective.  This includes guidance on locating or creating maps.


    • eBook Collections offers a concise list of specific online book collections, where some WRT students may be able to locate relevant book chapters as well as reference books containing broad overviews of specific topics being explored.


    • Poster Resources  contains links and information you can use for help with planning and designing a poster.


If you have questions or need help using any of these resources at any time, get in touch with a librarian

Tools for Exploring a Topic


SUMMON is a tool that allows you to search multiple resources at the same time with a single search query. Summon searches most of the journal, magazine, and newspaper resources available through subscription databases, as well as the Classic Catalog, the Syracuse University Digital Collections, and the SUrface repository. This means that your results will include both electronic and print resouces.

So, since SUMMON covers a huge variety of types of material and topics, and it can be great place to start uncovering what is available. Try an exploratory search on your topic. You'll no doubt find thousands of results-- from there you can add terms to narrow your search or filter by item type (newspaper, for example) to learn more about the topic.

You also may find it helpful to exlcude newspaper articles and book reviews from your searches-- either do this by filtering on the left-hand of the page, or use the Advanced Search feature to exclude them before you search.

SUMMON is available via the main search box on the Libraries' homepage.



Credo Reference

Credo Reference offers full-text, searchable access to a large collection of  reference booksin a variety of fields. View entries from multiple discipines and sources side by side.

Use this tool to find background information on your topic, locate related disciplines, issues, and people, and uncover relationships among terms.

Use the Concept Map tool for a graphical approach to exploring terms.


CQ Researcher

Treat CQ Researcher like an encyclopedia-- it's a great tool to get you started thinking about a topic, to inform your searching, and to highlight perspectives and historical context for your topic. Using what you have learned from CQ Researcher, you'll be equipped with the key terms and themes that will help you to locate strong sources on your topic. CQ Researcher can help point you to the sources that you will eventually cite.