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GEL 111: Introduction to Geology

This Research Guide provides information about geology and natural science resources found in the CCCC libraries and online.

Common Natural Science Research Methods

Question Mark IconQuestionnaires

Participants are asked a pre-selected set of questions.  These questions may be delivered in writing or through an interview format.

There are three main types of questionnaire methods: Random Sampling link will open in a new window , Stratified Sampling link will open in a new window , and Convenience Sampling.

Icon of Crossed ToolsApplied and Field research

Studies undertaken primarily to find a solution to an immediate, practical problem, such as reducing drug use or increasing worker productivity. 

Field research is a type of applied research that is undertaken in a non-laboratory setting, such as a hospital or workplace.

Erlenmeyer flask iconExperimental Research

Controlled research undertaken in a laboratory or other controlled environment.  Data collected can be analyzed to test a hypothesis.


Longitudinal Studies

The experimenters follow the same group of participants over the course of many years.  This is common in medical research.

Primary v. Secondary Resources in Science

When searching for information in the sciences it is important to know that there are two main types of information you will encounter: primary and secondary sources.  Primary sources are resources that report the results of original scientific research, written by those who did the research, that has not been published anywhere else.  If a publication comments on, evaluates, or discusses the original research report, then it is a secondary source not a primary one.

  Primary Source Secondary Source
DEFINITIONS Original materials that have not been filtered through interpretation or evaluation by a second party. Sources that contain commentary on or a discussion about a primary source.
TIMING OF PUBLICATION CYCLE Primary sources tend to come first in the publication cycle. Secondary sources tend to come second in the publication cycle.
FORMATS--depends on the kind of analysis being conducted. Conference papers, dissertations, interviews, laboratory notebooks, patents, a study reported in a journal article, a survey reported in a journal article, and technical reports. Review articles, magazine articles, and books
Example: Scientists studying Genetically Modified Foods. Article in scholarly journal reporting research and methodology. Articles analyzing and commenting on the results of original research; books doing the same


Source: The Evolution of Scientific Information (from Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, vol. 26) & GTCC Library Guide.


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