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Physical Geography

This guide is to accompany / supplement library instruction for Geog 107.

Those Articles, once more with feeling!

Based on the name of this tab, and hopefully the information provided, the answer to the poll should be obvious. National Geographic is a popular article.

I deliberately didn't make a poll for the Science Daily article, as it falls into a bit of a grey area. While it seems like original research, it isn't, it merely links to it, but it also isn't popular, as it doesn't say anything new or different about the original research it is covering.

It is possible you will come across sources like these in your studies. They are helpful for seeing if an article is useful before you have to read the whole thing or track it down yourself. But, if you do want to use that article, you need to obtain access to it and cite it properly, which we'll be covering now.

Once again, we have the links below for reference.

It all links back to you.

An important skill for any researcher is the ability to extract the real academic article from a popular source.

The Science Daily article provides a clear citation, in multiple styles, to the original research article. Let's look at how to get to that original article.

At the bottom of the Sciencedirect page, we see this:

Cooper, G. F., Macpherson, C. G., Blundy, J. D., Maunder, B., Allen, R. W., Goes, S., Collier, J. S, Bie, L., Harmon, N., Hicks, S. P., Iveson, A. A., Prytulak, P., Rietbrock, A., Rychert, C., Davidson J. P. & the VoiLA team. Variable water input controls evolution of the Lesser Antilles volcanic arcNature, 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2407-5

Here we have a real citation, albeit incomplete (it's lacking the volume/issue, page numbers, and full date), but most importantly, it links directly to the article itself in Nature with that DOI link. Sometimes, it really is that easy, provided of course you have access to the journal/database the article is in.

But let's say they didn't provide that nice link. It's still relatively easy to just toss that article title in Google, or Google Scholar if you want to be a little more careful, and you will get it as the first result. But, you might not have access to the article that way. Sure, you can pull it up, but you might not be able to read the whole thing.

In an instance like this, when you do have a citation, or at least a title, I recommend searching for it using the main library search bar. Alternatively, since you know the journal it's in, you can browse our journal collection to see if we have access to Nature, then search the title through them.

If that all sounds confusing, the next blue tab, "Finding a Scholarly Article", will get into how to do that.

Where's that citation information?

The NatGeo article is a little trickier to find the original research article for, as there isn't one.

Instead, they link to lots of original research data, reports from government agencies about earthquakes.

Original research data is a large part of geography and geology. Thankfully, much of that data is freely available, as it is part of publicly or government funded research and surveying.

In the case of this article, the data is the seismic recordings and other information about the series of earthquakes the article is about. While they provide links directly to the USGS pages for those quakes, you could try to search them yourself on their website based on the information the article gives (

Then, if you wanted to find peer reviewed articles scholarly articles about those quakes, you could search for them in a geology/geography database. Take for example the second quake in the series in the article, the M6.4 on January 7th, 2020. A simple search of "6.4 earthquake puerto rico" in the libraries' main search bar provided me with the following result:

Liu, C., Lay, T., Wang, Z., & Xiong, X. (2020). Rupture process of the 7 january 2020, m w 6.4 puerto rico earthquake. Geophysical Research Letters47(12).

An original research article, about a geological event, simply based on information in a popular magazine.