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SSI2-110: Examining Dogs Through the Lens of Science


Knowing how to find the original source from a news or popular press report is a key research skill. It's a good way of getting deeper into the literature for this class, and a good way for you to practice vital research skills that you'll use the rest of your time at UPS. 

Fossils: Clues to the Origins of Big Cats

Let's take a look at this article and figure out as much citation information as we can from the news story, then we'll try to find the scientific report discussed in the story. 

1) Open the article in a new tab, then take note of the following information: 

  • In pairs, read the NY Times article given to your team and answer the following questions:
    • In 2 sentences or less, what is this article about?
    • When was this NY Times article published?
    • Would you say the NY TIMES ARTICLE is a scholarly source or a popular source? Why?
    • Would you say the NY TIMES ARTICLE is a primary source or a secondary source? Why?
  • The article mentions two studies: a 2006 DNA study and a more recent study on fossils in the Himalayas. If you needed to find the more recent fossils study, what pieces of information does this NY Times article give you that would help you search for it?  
    • Name of the journal in which the research was published:
    • Names of any researchers mentioned:
    • When the research was published:
    • Most important topic words describing the work done in the study:

2) Now, using that information that you've gathered, search for the original scientific article using Academic Search Premier.

  • Once you have found the article in Academic Search Premier, read the abstract and make notes to answer the following question: what did you learn from the abstract that you didn’t already know from the newspaper article?  
  • After you have read the abstract and answered the above questions, try to locate the full text of the article. What steps did you take to access the entire full text of the scholarly study?

3) Now that you’ve found the original scholarly source that the news article was based on, let’s take a look to see if we can find any other popular science reporting on this topic. There are a couple of ways to do that, so let’s practice them both!

  • First, let’s use a library database (“Proquest Central”) to search and then filter by source type (magazine or newspaper.
    • What search terms did you use?
    • Once you found some results, how did you make sure that it was about the right study?
  • Second, let’s use a search engine like Google to do a general search for the topic.
    • What search terms did you use?
    • Once you found some results, how did you make sure that it was about the right study?
    • Finally, your assignment will require you to find an article published in a magazine. How will you check to see whether any of the websites you found qualify as a magazine?


Popular Sources

When searching in Academic Search Premier or ProQuest Central be sure to use the filters on the left to limit to 'magazines' or 'trade publicatlions" when looking for primarily popular sources. 

Current News Coverage

When looking for news, try one of the databases below, which cover the major news sources in the United States.