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Forensic Science: FSCI 5353 - Research Methods (Online/Distance)

Research guide for the forensic sciences.

FSCI 5353 - Research Methods (Online/Distance)


Forensic Science- FSCI 5353

Library Discovery System

World Wide Web Database

Google Scholar Logo

General Subscription Databases

Web of Science

Search Web of Science™


Copyright 2014 Thomson Reuters   




Government Publications

Overview - Scholarly References

Finding references for Forensic Science requires several steps.  No one step will find all of the references available. Here is a brief guide to assembling a thorough collection of references on a topic. Experience will teach you which of these is most useful for each circumstance.  Do not hesitate to ask a Librarian if you need assistance- they are here to help you. Jessica Simpson is the Librarian for Forensic Science.  There will be a "get started" link or search box on the left side of the page where there are the words "see left".

Digital Databases - Scholarly References

General Databases
A good place to start if you are not familiar with the Tech Libraries is the Libraries web page: Go to "Start Your Research" to search the library discovery system. Enter your keywords or topics and do a search. When your subject is too broad will get you thousands of articles. A subject that is too specific may not find any references. You may have to try several keywords before finding the best ones for your search. A link is provided to help you start with the Discovery System (see left).
General search engines:
*Scholarly World Wide Web Database: Google Scholar (see left) (Make sure to log-in to TTU for subscriptions!)
*TTU Library Subscribed General Databases: Scopus, Web of Science (see left), JSTOR (see left)
Forensic Science covers many disciplines; these initial databases are just the tip of the iceberg. This is a good first place to look.
Related discipline databases:
*Use the database search at the library homepage (>Electronic Resources (left menu)>Find Databases A-Z>Category (tab)>Science +  Technology (left menu) OR Social Sciences (left menu)
*Do not hesitate to look in other disciplines that are related to your topic.
Some things to remember when searching in a digital database:
*A "keyword" search casts a wide net when searching a digital database. Be prepared to wade through many returned sources that have nothing to do with your topic.
*If you have a topic, then try a search using the "subject" field. This will most often return specific and relevant sources.
*Be sure to use all possible terms that may apply to your topic. For example, "chemical forensics'', "forensic chemistry" and "forensic chemical analysis" will each give you different lists. Do not limit yourself to just one term or phrase.

Books - Scholarly References

For books, your first step is to find out what is available in the Texas Tech Libraries (Main, Architecture, and the Southwest Collection).  Use the federated search box labled "Start Here" from the library homepage and select the checkbox "Available in the Library Collection".  In the search menu to the left under "Source Type", limit your search to "Books" or "Ebooks" for digital-only versions.


Another way of finding information is simply to browse through the stacks at the appropriate call numbers.  Relevant Library of Congress call numbers include the following: 

Graphology BF 889-905 (Psychology)
Anthropometry GN 51-59
Forensic anthropology GN 69.8
Identification GN 192 (Anthropology)
Dermatoglyphics GN 192
Hair GN 193 (Physical anthropology)
Counterfeits and counterfeiting HG 335-341
Forgery HG 1696-1698 (Checks)
Criminal anthropology HV 6001-6197
Forgery HV 6675-85
Evidence preservation HV 7936 .E85
Criminal investigation HV 8073-8079
Hair QL 942 (Comparative anatomy)
Hair QM 488 (Human anatomy)
Death-Proof and certification RA 405
Medical jurisprudence RA 1001-1171
Forensic toxicology RA 1228
Arsenic-Toxicology RA 1231 .A7
Drugs-Toxicology RA 1238
Body fluids-Analysis RB 52
Drugs-Analysis RB 56-56.5 (Clinical pathology)
Graphology RC 473 .G7 (Psychiatry)
Gunshot wounds RD 96.3
Hallucinogenic drugs RM 324.8
Drugs-Analysis RS 189-190 (Pharmacy)
Forensic engineering TA 219
Environmental forensics TD 193.4
Fire investigation TH 9180
Explosives TP 268-299
Ink TP 946-950
Legal photography TR 822 (Applied photography)
Forgery Z 41 (Autographs)
Ink Z 112

Government Documents - Scholarly References

U.S. Federal Government Documents can be found through a variety of sources: the online catalog (TTU has been a Government Depository for over 50 years), the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (see left). The print version is in the Government Documents collection (GP3.8:), and another electronic version - GPO Monthly Catalog (1976 onwards) is in FirstSearch, listed as a "Popular Database" on the library home page. Use the subject pull-down menu and search under these subject areas for more information "Congressional & Legal information; Government Information, General; and Statistical Information. Sources from Allied Disciplines Many topics of interest to forensic science, as mentioned earlier, can also be located in databases and abstract collections for allied disciplines.

Web Searches - Scholarly References

Be careful here! You can try a web search using your prefered search engineGoogle, Bing, Yahoo, etc.for references, but you have to be sure of their reliability and authority. Will they be scholarly? Will they be legitimate?  Make sure you understand how to evaluate the reliability of resources online and/or ask a librarian regarding the authority of specific resources.

Citation Chaining - Scholarly References

Reference Lists in Articles and Bibliographies in Books

Reading the articles and books you have collected will direct you to still more references by using a method called "backward citation chaining". If a paper is cited in the text and it looks like it may be useful to you, hunt it down. Review articles are particularly helpful in the early stages of a project.

Cited By

You can also follow "forward citation chaining".  With modern technology, many databases are now using forward citation chaining to track authors who are citing articles that you are already using.  Following citations "forward" will let you know how that article has impacted the field and may provide even more recent infromation on your topic.

Additional Tips - Scholarly References

Some more things:

*Start your research immediately! Although the TTU Libraries have a plethora of resources, they will not have everything you are looking for. Document Delivery may take a few days to two weeks. Use your time accordingly. Writing your paper at the last minute is nothing compared to researching at the last minute.  Use the Ask a Librarian  link for assistance (see left). They love to be asked about this stuff. You can also use the Ask a Librarian, starting with clicking on Contact Us under Help: on the right side of the home page.

Style Manuals

This link gives guidance to how to cite in the major style manuals. It is particularly good in helping cite electronic resources.

Finding Library Resources Assignment

Find relevant resources using the federated search box labeled "Start Here" on the library home page (  You can limit to articles by selecting "Journal Articles" in the "Source Types" in the left menu.  You might also find articles in "Source Types" in Magazines, Reviews, etc.  Remember to pick your own topic. The query in this example includes operators including Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), a Keyword Phrase operator (quotations marks), and Group operators (parenthesis).

  1. Document Delivery – Request an article or book (NOTE: I suggest requesting an electronic article, otherwise document delivery will try to ship a book to your home)
  2. Current News Article  – Use LexisNexis or other news database to search for news about forensic science events happening now!
  3. Scopus – Copy or list the percentages in the pie chart of the Subject Areas that Forensic Science is published in using the Analytics tool for comprehensive journal publishing.