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REL 243: Ethics & Medicine

Fall 2011

The library has many tools to help you conduct research on your topics. Use this guide to explore everything available to you. If you have questions, encounter problems, or simply want to talk about your topic, stop by the Reference Desk to chat with any of our librarians. You are also more than welcome to contact me directly at or x7552.

Mary Solberg
Julie Gilbert

Table of Contents:

Organizing the Research Process
In general, let your research question/topic guide your approach.

As you first start out, you will probably need more background information. Reference books are especially useful here. They can give you search term ideas and also possible questions to investigate. They might also have a list of works cited that you can use as additional sources.

After you work more with your topic, you want to keep asking yourself what's missing. What part of the topic is murky? What haven't I investigated enough? Then ask yourself where you can go to get more information - search a variety of databases & library catalogs. Read broadly in your topic. Gain a sense of what questions are studied in the field and how.

Once you are familiar with the literature on your topic, continue to explore sources until you have a strong sense of how your topic has been studied in the literature (what questions have scholars of your topic studied) and by whom (who are the leading scholars of your topic). Keep tracking these down, using bibliographic traces to go forward and backward in the literature.

At all points in the research, be in conversation - with your professor, with your classmates, and with librarians.

Reference Books
Reference books are great resources to consult at various points during your research. They provide you with background information, help you brainstorm search terms, clarify topics, and often offer lists of recommended reading. All Reference Books are shelved on the main (second) floor of the Library on the Beck Hall side of the building.
  • Dictionary of Ethics, Theology and Society
    Routledge 1996
    A selection of the world's leading scholars from varying disciplines and denominations cover all aspects of philosophy, theology, ethics, politics, economics and government, providing a brief definition of each term, a description of the principal ideas behind it, its history, development and contemporary relevance, and a detailed bibliography giving the major sources in the field.
    • Location(s): Ref BJ 63 .D45 1996
  • Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics
    San Diego, CA: Academic 2012 2nd ed. edition
    Offers excellent overviews of ways in which a wide variety of issues can be analyzed from an ethical standpoint. Includes articles on such topics as advertising, affirmative action, fetal research, religion in schools, and many other topics.
    • Location(s): Ref BJ 63 .E53 2012
  • Encyclopedia of Bioethics
    Macmillan 2004 3rd edition
    Covers issues and controversies in bioethics in lengthy, scholarly articles, each one accompanied by a current bibliography of key sources.
    • Location(s): Ref QH 332 .E52 2004
    5 vols.
  • Encyclopedia of Ethics
    New York: Routledge 2001 2nd ed. edition
    Provides articles on ethical theory, including history, major traditions, and ethical issues related to law, social problems, technology, economic systems, and other issues.
    • Location(s): Ref BJ 63 .E45 2001
  • Encyclopedia of Religion
    Detroit: Macmillan Reference 2005 2nd ed. edition
    Covers religions from around the world and through history as well as people and ideas related to religion. The articles are written by experts in their fields and include excellent bibliographies. This new edition includes hundreds of new articles, thoroughly revised coverage of all topics in religion, and a handful of "visual essays" that illustrate visual culture as a significant aspect of religion.
    • Location(s): Ref BL 31 .E46 2005
  • Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics
    Detroit: Macmillan Reference 2005
    Offers scholarly articles on a wide variety of topics on philosophical approaches to science and ethical issues in society such as rights and reproduction, informed consent, and environmental ethics. An extraordinary resource for any philosophical issue related to science or technology.
    • Location(s): Ref Q 175.35 .E53 2005
  • The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition
    Garland Pub. 2000
    A collection of articles by experts in the field, grouped under ten headings covering everything from the relationship of science and religion to the approaches taken by specific religious traditions, from alchemy to chemistry to materialism to spiritualism.
    • Location(s): Ref BL 245 .H57 2000
Finding Books
For books in the Gustavus library, use the MnPALS catalog. Write down the call number and location information. Use the maps on the library's website, the tags on the sides of shelves, or stop at the Reference Desk to figure out where your book is shelved. To request books from other libraries, visit the Interlibrary Loan page for more information or use the FindIt! button in WorldCat.
  • MnPALS Plus
    The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College. Choose "All Libraries" in the search options to search other MnPALS libraries (such as Minnesota State schools) and request books through Interlibrary Loan. View our MnPALS Plus tutorial.
  • WorldCat
    Includes over 40 million bibliographic records representing cataloged resources in 400 languages owned by libraries around the world. Materials date back to the 11th century. Owning libraries can be identified for books, journals, archival resources and electronic resources. Access to WorldCat is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM); the database can also be searched through its free web interface, at
    1000 CE-present; updated daily
Finding Articles
If you have an article citation and can't find the full text in a database, use the Journal Locator to see if Gustavus owns a print copy of the article OR if it is available through another database. Be sure to search the Journal Locator with the title of the journal, not the article title. Use the yellow FindIt! button in any of the databases to locate other full text copies of the article. The FindIt! button will tell you if the article is available online through another database, in print in the library (located on first floor), or if you'll need to order the article through Interlibrary Loan. For Interlibrary Loan you'll need your 14 digit barcode (on your 3 Crowns Card) and your password (your last name).
  • Academic Search Premier
    The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database, Academic Search Premier indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,500 peer-reviewed journals. Coverage also includes many newspapers and popular magazines and spans virtually every area of academic study since 1975. Updated daily. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). View our Academic Search Premier tutorial.
    1975-present; updated daily
  • ATLA Religion Database & ATLA Serials
    A comprehensive research database in the fields of religion and theology produced by the American Theological Library Association. Includes bibliographic citations and abstracts to journal articles from over 1,500 titles, citations to essays and book chapters, book reviews, and Doctor of Ministry projects. Many journal articles and book reviews are also available in full text.
    1949-present; updated quarterly
  • Biological Sciences
    Citations and abstracts to research in all areas of biological sciences, including biomedicine, biotechnology, zoology, and ecology. Coverage is from 1982 to the present. Biological Sciences indexes over 6,000 primary journals plus patents, conference proceedings, books and reports.
  • Google Scholar
    This search engine points toward scholarly research rather than all Web-based sources. It is stronger in the sciences than in the humanities, with social sciences somewhere in between. One interesting feature of Google Scholar is that in includes a link to sources that cite a particular item. If you are using Google Scholar on campus, you will find articles available through the library's subscription databases linked. To view these links when searching off campus, use our Google Scholar Off Campus Link. Not all of the articles in Google Scholar are free; the library can obtain many of them for you through interlibrary loan.
  • Health Source - Nursing/Academic Edition
    This database provides nearly 550 scholarly full text journals focusing on many medical disciplines. It also features the Lexi-PAL Drug Guide, which covers 1,300 generic drug patient education sheets with more than 4,700 brand names. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM).
    The National Library of Medicine's index to scholarly literature in medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine and the health care system, from 1994-present. MEDLINE links to the ProQuest interface; this database can also be searched through the NLM's free PubMed web interface.
  • SAGE Premier
    Search the full text to over 500 scholarly journals published by SAGE in a range of disciplines, including many social sciences titles. Many journals include full backfiles - back to 1960s or earlier. To search articles by discipline, click on the "Browse" tab, then click on the "Articles by Discipline" tab.
Relevant Journals
  • American Journal of Bioethics
    Available from 2001 (most recent 1 year not available) in Academic Search Premier
    Available from 2002-2004 in Lexis Nexis

  • American Journal of Law and Medicine
    Available from 1975 in Academic Search Premier
    Available from 1981 in Lexis Nexis

  • Bioethics
    Available from 1998 (most recent 1 year not available) in Academic Search Premier

  • Ethics
    Available from 1992 (most recent 1 year not available) in Academic Search Premier
    Available from 1938-2001 in JSTOR
    Available from 1993-present in Gustavus Print Holdings

  • Hastings Center Report
    Available from 1990 in Academic Search Premier
    Available from 1973-present in Gustavus Print Holdings

  • Issues in Law and Medicine
    Available from 1990 in Academic Search Premier
    Available from 1996 in Lexis Nexis

  • Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics
    Available from 1995 (most recent 1 year not available) in Academic Search Premier
    Available from 1998 in Lexis Nexis
    Available from 1993-present in Gustavus Print Holdings

  • Journal of Medical Ethics
    Available from 2000 (most recent 1 year not available) in Highwire Press

  • Journal of Medicine and Philosophy
    Available from 1997 (most recent 1 year not available) in Academic Search Premier
    Available from 1976-1994 in Gustavus Print Holdings

  • Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
    Available from 1965-present (1965-91 on microfilm; 1981-present in paper) in Gustavus Print Holdings

  • New England Journal of Medicine
    Available from 1965-present in Gustavus Print Holdings

Web Sites

Useful Library Resources
Need an article that Gustavus doesn't own? Wondering how to cite your sources? Need a refresher on evaluating websites? Check out these resources!
  • Interlibrary Loan
    For information on requesting books and articles from other libraries, visit our Interlibrary Loan page.
  • Citing Your Sources
    Start here to find information on citing your sources in MLA, APA, and Chicago Style.
  • Reference Desk
    Hours for fall semester at the Reference Desk are: Monday - Thursday 10:00 - 5:00 & 6:00 - 10:00, Friday 10:00 - 5:00, and Sunday 2:00 - 10:00
Contacting Julie
I'm happy to meet with you at any time to chat about your research. I can suggest additional sources, advanced search techniques, and troubleshoot problems you may encounter. Email me at or call x7552.

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