Skip to Main Content

CH 398: Research Proposals for Undergraduate Research

A guide to help you find and cite the research you need for your proposal.

Where to Start

If you need…

then start with…

An overview of the literature on a topic

  • All subjects

  • Chemistry

  • Biomedical

A citation index

  • Scopus / Web of Science

  • SciFindern

  • PubMed

The full text of a citation


Articles from a specific journal

A publisher database*

Not sure where to go? Journal Finder

To check if your keywords are any good

Google Scholar


* Find these on the A-Z Databases list (log into Okta if prompted)

Overviews: Citation Indexes

When you need to get a good understanding of what's been written about a research topic, citation indexes can help!

Citation indexes can be broad in subject - Scopus and Web of Science - or more narrowly focused on a discipline - SciFindern in the area of chemistry, or PubMed for biomedical research.

Scopus and Web of Science track how papers are cited through a large but select list of academic journals, and it is through this citation analysis that you can get a sense of what people have written and what, based on the citations, are considered important papers in the field. You should do your search in both to make sure you're catching everything, as, while there is a fair amount of overlap, they draw from different collections of publications.

SciFindern is useful as a means of finding articles based on subjects in chemistry and related subjects because it has search capabilities that allow chemistry researchers to connect the substances and reactions they're working on to the research written about them. Look for the "Full Text" link for each citation to read the articles you're interested in.

PubMed will occasionally link to the full text of articles, either in PubMed Central (a repository of open access articles) or on the publisher website/database. If you can't find full text that way, take the title of the article you want and search for it (in quotes) in the Library search bar to find out if we have access to it through our subscriptions.

General Subject


Full-text: Publisher Databases

You may find what you need in a citation database like Scopus or SciFinder, but if tracking the full text of articles from those databases keeps leading you to a publisher's database, consider doing further searching directly in those sources.

Publisher Databases

Look here for access to journals provided by the journal publishers. Searching a publisher database can be more useful than one of the broader-topic databases if you know that the subject you're looking for is a major focus for a particular publisher, as these databases will have current coverage of some journals we may only have with an embargo in other databases.

Multidisciplinary Journals

Preprint Repositories

Preprints are the final draft of a research article prior to its submission to a journal (and therefore the editorial and peer review process). Note that if you find and want to use a preprint in your work, first check to see if it's since been published and use that instead (what's known as the "version of record"); if you do proceed with using the preprint, acknowledge in your text and the references list that it is indeed a preprint, so your readers can know to take the lack of peer review verification into account.