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    Preuniversity Guide to Gerstein*
Gerstein health and science image collage Gerstein Science Information Centre
9 King's College Circle Toronto ON M5S 1A5     416.978.2280
University of Toronto Crest
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Preuniversity Guide to Gerstein Printer Friendly Version (PDF)
Welcome to the Gerstein Science Information Centre

  • This is a large library with a wide range of materials. You are welcome to use the resources but high school students are not able to borrow materials. Please allow plenty of time to get your research done here.
  • This is a self-serve library where you are responsible for your own research. The staff is here to assist you and you should feel comfortable asking for help.
Doing your research
Feeling adventurous? Expand your search.
Practicalities - hours, copying, food, etc.



  • Public computers: The standing terminals next to the information desk are for public use. All other computers are reserved for U of T members.
  • Photocopying and printing: A few of our photocopiers accept coins or you can buy a visitor card. The card cost $5 and you must add more money to charge the card. Fifteen cents per page is deducted from the card when you print; 10 cents per page is deducted when you photocopy. If you plan to print from our electronic resources, the visitor card is the only way to do so.
  • Food, phones, and bank machines: Phones, a bank machine, and vending machines are located at the bottom of the stairs (main entrance). The Under Study Café is also located beneath the Gerstein Information Science Centre down the stairs near main entrance. There is a cafeteria in the Medical Sciences Building (left as you exit, open weekdays only) or you can go to Hart House (right as you exit, open evenings and weekends).
  • Your belongings: We do not have lockers so it is safest to keep your belongings with you at all times.
  • Public transport: The nearest subway stop is Queen’s Park to the south of the building.
  • Hours of operation
  • View campus map showing building and nearby subway locations.
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Doing your research

  1. Define your topic in one or two sentences
  2. Break your topic into searchable keywords
  3. Start with an overview of your topic using dictionaries and encyclopedias
  4. Search for books
  5. Search for journal articles
  6. Write your paper

You will notice that different authors use different terms and spellings to describe a topic. You will want to record all of these terms on a piece of paper and use them in your search.

Use critical thinking skills to evaluate the source and content of the material you find as you go along.

  1. Define your topic in one or two sentences:
    What effect does smoking have on lung function?
  2. Isolate keywords:
    Effect, smoking, lung function
  3. Use a dictionary to understand your terms.
    Dictionaries are in the reference reading room and behind the reference desk. For example, you might look up the terms smoking and lungs.
  4. Use encyclopaedias to get an overview of your topic.
    Encyclopaedias are also in the reference reading room, or you can use online encyclopaedias such as AccessScience. Read more about scientific encyclopedias. For the best results, check the index for each of your terms.
  5. Search for books:
    Use UTL Catalogue to search for your keywords. UTL Catalogue is a huge database and you will find it helpful to take a tutorial before using the catalogue. Locate books at Gerstein.
  6. Search for journal articles:
    Use the databases to search for articles. We suggest you start with General Science Abstracts (This database is only accessible in the library via the web page.)

    Enter each of your terms separately. The database will return a large number of articles:

    #1 Effect: Returns 44754 articles!
    #2 Smoking: Returns 3661 articles!
    #3 Lung function: Returns 164 articles!

Searching terms separately and then combining terms allows you to find the most relevant articles to your search. Your final step is to combine the terms in one set.

    #4 (lung function) and (smoking) and (effect): Returns 6 articles

Examine the articles to see if they are relevant for your topic and make a note of as many articles as appear relevant. Some journals may not be there when you get to the shelves. The more citations you start with, the easier it will be.

You may get some clues from the material that you uncover. Note any new keywords or spellings and try searching the database again.

  1. Write your paper.
    As you gather materials, read, evaluate, and think about the material. How will it fit into your paper? Write an outline and fill it with content as you proceed.
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Feeling adventurous?

More databases:
More help with research and writing:
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  Your comments & suggestions are invited. Latest Update July 20, 2004.
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