Skip to Main Content

The library building will be closed starting May 11th through August for renovations. Library services will remain available during this time. Please contact library@delval.edul with any questions.

SA 4016 - Senior Seminar (Shelly)

Choosing a Topic

Browsing for a Topic

Many of you have already figured out what you want to investigate, either from your job or another class you took.  But, for those of you who are still looking, check out the following....

Some Examples of Past Seminar Topics

  • Aquatic Dead Zones: We've left them with no room to breathe
  • Working K9 to 5  (the role of service dogs in society)
  • Sea Lions in Captivity: "Something to Bark About"
  • Oil Spill in the Gulf and its Effects on Animals
  • Saving the Black-Footed Ferret from Extinction
  • Illegal Importation of Birds

Identifying Peer-Reviewed Literature

Checklist for Peer-Reviewed Research Article

  Did the author(s) of the article do the actual research?
  Can you find a statement about when the article was accepted for publication?
  Is there a sizable list of references?
  Do the authors assume you are familiar with their topic?
  Is it challenging to read?

If you have answered "yes" to these five questions you have probably located a scientific article.

Research Articles

Research articles are also often known as scientific or peer-reviewed articles. If the article is NOT written by the person or group who did the research, it is NOT a peer-reviewed or scientific article. Research articles are important for knowing what new discoveries have been made. This is why it is important to use recent articles, since they will be the first things published on a new scientific development. 

Here's a quick overview of how to identify these journal articles:

  • written by the scientist(s) who actually did the research
  • follows a specific format 
    • abstract
    • introduction
    • materials & methods
    • results
    • conclusions
    • references 
  • assumes reader already knows background information about the topic has been evaluated by experts
  • Tip:  Look for a statement about when the article was accepted for publication. Most peer-reviewed articles will include one.
Example of a Research Article


Finding Research

Useful Places to Start

Some Wildcards

Depending on your topic, one of these databases might be tailored to your research needs.

Digging Further...

Interlibrary Loan

If a book or article you want is not available, use Interlibrary Loan (ILL). The Library can order books and articles from other libraries. This process takes few days but is completely free for DelVal students, faculty, and staff.

Before you submit an ILL, check Google Scholar or Summon to see if we have immediate access or if it is freely available online.

Writing an Abstract

Writing an Abstract

The contents of this page are borrowed in part from Purdue's Online Writing Lab and UNC's Writing Center.

Your abstract should summarize the key points of your research paper by touching briefly on the following elements:

  1. Reason for Writing -- Why is the topic important?  Why would someone want to read your paper?
  2. Problem -- What issue are you trying to solve? What is your main argument, thesis, or claim?
  3. Methodology -- How did you conduct your research?  What types of data and evidence did you include?
  4. Results -- What did you discover?
  5. Implications -- What are your conclusions and suggestions for the future?

Reread your finished paper and look specifically for the elements included in this list.  Then sit on your paper (or put it away) and write a rough draft of your abstract.  Do not simply copy and paste key sentences from your paper, and do not mention any information that you didn't include in your paper!  When you're ready to revise your rough draft, check for organization, coherence, and content.

Most informative abstracts are generally 200-300 words and one paragraph in length.

A good abstract...

  • offers a concise, coherent, and complete summary of your paper in one well-written paragraph
  • uses an introduction/body/conclusion structure that discusses the parts of your paper (purpose, findings, conclusions, recommendations)
  • discusses the parts of your paper in chronological order
  • includes only the information that you address in your paper (no extraneous details)
  • appeals to a wide audience (even those readers who may not be experts on your topic)

To view examples of abstracts, do a search in any database, or take a look at the abstracts attached to the studies that you found for your paper! Or click the document below...

Setting up RefWorks


RefWorks is a new way to collect, manage, and organize research.  You can read, annotate, organize, and cite your research as well as collaborate by sharing collections.

From simple bibliographies to papers formatted with in-text citations or footnotes, RefWorks handles it all. ​To learn more about RefWorks, use our RefWorks research guide.

To create a RefWorks account:

  1. Go to the link below and click Create account
  2. Fill in your information, making sure to use your DelVal email address.  
  3. Go to your inbox and click the email link to complete the activation process. 

Already have an account? Just go to the link below and click "Log In"

Online Tutorials

Formatting your Bibliography

Chicago Style for the Sciences

Chicago Author-Date style may also be referred to as:

  • Author-Date System/Style
  • Parenthetical
  • Chicago Scientific

These are all the same thing!

In-Text Citations

When the author's name appears in the sentence, it does not need to be repeated in the citation.

Recent literature has examined long-run price drifts following initial public offerings and other factors (Ritter 1991). Fisher (2009) reaches more or less the same conclusion.


Several studies have shown that "F. oxysporum isolates collected as nonpathogenic or pathogenic to other hosts that have very similar or identical elongation factor 1α and mitochondrial small subunit genotypes as banana pathogens were shown to cause little or no disease on banana" (O'Donnell 1998, 2044).

More than one author 
(Smith and Johnson 1998, 14) 
(Smith, Johnson, and White 2001, 42)

More than three authors
(Smith et al. 1998, 203)

No author
(Plagiarism and You 2002, 142) 

Journal Articles

Last name, first name. Year. "Article Title." Journal volume (issue, if available): pages. URL or DOI. 

Novak, William J. 2008. "The Myth of the 'Weak' American State." American Historical Review 113:752-72. doi:10.1086/ahr.113.3.752

Journal article with multiple authors
Include all authors, regardless of number, in the References List.

Last name, first name, and First name Last name. Year. "Article Title." Journal volume (issue, if available): pages. URL, if no DOI available. 

Choi, Stephen J., and G. Mitu Gulati. 2008. "Bias in Judicial Citations: A Window into the Behavior of Judges?" Journal of Legal Studies 37 (1): 87-129. doi:10.1086/588263.


Last name, First name. Year. Title. Publisher's location: Publisher's name.

Pollan, Michael. 2006. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin.

Books with multiple authors
Include all authors, regardless of number, in the References List. Word order and punctuation are the same as for two or three authors. 

Last name, First name, and First name Last name. Year. Title. Publisher's location: Publisher's name.

Heatherton, Joyce, James Fitzgilroy, and Jackson Hsu. 2008. Meteors and Mudslides: A Trip through the Earth. New York: Knopf. 

Chapter in an Edited Book

Last name, First name of chapter author. Year. Chapter Title. In Book Title, edited by Editor, pages. Publisher's location: Publisher's name.

Gould, Glenn. 1984. "Streisand as Schwarzkopf." In the Glenn Gould Reader, edited by Tim Page, 308-11. New York: Vintage. 

Birds of North America

Marti, C. D. (1992) Barn Owl. The Birds of North America (A. Poole, Ed.) Ithaca: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Retrieved from The Birds of North America:

Government reports

Last name, first name, First name Last name, and First name Last name. Year. Title. Report submitted to Department on date.

McKenna-Foster, Andrew, Lou Perrotti, and Elizabeth Sorrows. 2015. American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) Survey on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Report submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on October 22, 2015.


If there is no title, include a description of the image instead. 

Artist or creator. Year. "Title." Digital image. Website title. Access date, if no publication date available. URL

Ryder, Malcolm. 2006. “Driving Action with Values.” Digital image. Orchestra. Accessed April 11, 2017.

"Cassowary on Beach." 2019. Digital image. Guinness World Records. Accessed March 4, 2020.

Legal Documents

Citations in predominantly legal works generally follow one of two guides: (1) The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation; or (2) the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation. Chicago recommends using one of these systems for citing legal and public documents.

14.276 Cases or court decisions
"Full case names in citations including the abbreviation v., are set in roman in notes; short forms in subsequent citations are italicized (as are full case names mentioned in textual sentences). Full citations include volume number, abbreviated name of the reporter(s), the ordinal series number of the reporter (if applicable), the abbreviated name of the court (if not indicated by the reporter) and the date together in parentheses, and other relevant information. A single page number designates the opening page of a decision; an additional number designates an actual page cited. In a shorted citation, at is used to cite a particular page; absence of at implies reference to the decision as a whole."


United States v. Christmas, 222 F.3d 141, 145 (4th Cir. 2000).

Profit Sharing Plan v. Mbank Dallas, N.A., 683 F. Supp. 592 (N.D. Tex. 1988)

14.282 Laws and statues
"Bills of joint resolutions that have been signed into law - "public laws," or statues - are first published separately, as slip laws, and then collected in the annual bound volumes of the United States Statues at Large (abbreviated in legal style as "Stat."), where they are referred to as session laws. Later they are incorporated into the United States Code (U.S.C.). "


1. Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135 (2012).

2. Homeland Security Act of 2002, 6 U.S.C. § 101 (2012). 

Letters, Emails, and Conversations

Personal communications, including email and text messages and direct messages sent through social media, are usually cited in the text only; they are rarely included in a reference list.


(Sam Gomez, Facebook message to author, August 1, 2017)

Newspaper Articles

It is usually sufficient to cite newspaper and magazine articles entirely within the text. If, for some reason, a reference list entry is needed, the year of publication is separated from the month and day. 

Last name, first name. Year. "Title." Newspaper, Month day, pages if available. URL if available. 


Carey, Benedict. 2008. "For the Brain, Remembering is like Reliving." New York Times, September 4. 


If no author is available, begin citation with title.

Last name, First name if available. Year. Title. Publisher's location: Publisher's name.


Lifestyles in Retirement, 1996. New York: TIAA-CREF. 

Presentation Abstract


van Ballegooie M, Mears S, wilson K. 2017. Deep Dive into KBART [presentation abstract]. N Am Seria Inters Group.

Tables and Figures

If there is a photographer or illustrator use his or her name in place of the author. If there is a caption, use the caption in place of the title of an article, or add the caption title in quotation marks with proper capitalization. Add a page number where the image is found.

Last name, first name. Year. "Article Title." Journal volume (issue, if available): page, figure or table name. URL


Talbot, David. 2007. "Saving Holland." Technology Review 110, no. 4: 52, figure 3.


When citing (not reprinting) an illustration from a book, article or other sources, cite the source first, then provide the page number where the illustration is located in text citation, preceding the figure number, with a comma between them. When citing illustrations, the abbreviation fig. may be used for figure, but table, map, plate, and other illustration forms are spelled out.


... (Anderson 2018, fig. 8.1)...

(Smith 2019, 123, fig. 3)


If you are including a figure or table in your paper, not just referring to it, it requires a credit line. A credit line usually appears at the end of a caption of a figure, or in a source note of a table. Figures and tables must be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc)  in the order in which they appear within the text, i.e. the first figure is labeled "Figure 1", the second "Figure 2", and so on. 

Refer to each figure or table in text by their number, e.g. figure 1, table 4, etc.

If you are WRITING FOR PUBLICATION (for a journal, conference paper, thesis, website, etc) you must obtain written permission from the copyright owner to include the figure or table in your work, and state the permission in the source citation as 'Reprinted with permission from ...' While students don't usually require publisher permission to include figures or tables in assignments, you should still include the credit line with copyright statement.

If the work being credited is listed in the reference list, only a shortened form needs appear in the credit line.


Figure or table number. Figure or table name. Reprinted from Author (Year, page).

Figure 1. Surgical mask (left) and N95 mask (right). Reprinted from Doyle and McCutcheon (2015, 24).

Theses or Dissertations

Titles of unpublished works appear in quotation marks, not italics. 

Last name, First name. Year. "Title." Thesis type, Academic institution. Database name, if available. URL, if available.


Choi, Mihwa. 2008. "Contesting Imaginaires in Death Rituals during the Northern Song Dynasty." PhD diss., University of Chicago. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

Vedrashko, Ilya. 2006. "Advertising in Computer Games," Master's thesis, MIT. 


Organization or author name. Year. "Webpage title." Owner of webpage. Access date, if last modified date is not available. URL. 


Microsoft Corporation. 2006. "WD2000: Visual Basic Macro to Assign Clipboard Text to a String Variable." Microsoft Help and Support. Last modified November 23, 2006.

Evanston Public Library Board of Trustees. 2008. “Evanston Public Library Strategic Plan, 2000-2010: A Decade of Outreach.” Evanston Public Library. Accessed July 19, 2016. /strategic-plan-00.html. 

Is the example you need missing?

Contact the Library at to request a new example and citation help!

Getting Help

Meet with a Librarian

Zoom    Instagram    Email    215-948-4171

The Writing Center

The Writing Center is staffed by DelVal undergraduate peer tutors who help with writing assignments in all your courses. We view writing as a process that involves planning, reading, drafting, revising, and editing—writing with substance involves discovering your meaning through brainstorming, sharing, and getting lots of feedback.

Tutors help you gain a fresh perspective on the writing process, and can assist with any stage of the process:  choosing a topic or working through writer's block, generating ideas, creating an outline, sharpening a thesis, arranging and organizing paragraphs, citing correctly and fluently, editing grammar and mechanics, and more.

Instructors receive a copy of the tutor report completed during the session, to illustrate your engagement with the writing process and meeting the demands of writing across disciplines.

Services are on a walk-in basis, so no appointment is necessary. Schedules are posted in the Writing Center, on Inside DelVal, and on professors' Blackboard course pages.

Tutors look forward to working with you!