How do I find a scientific journal article I just read about in the news?

One of the pitfalls of a publicly available e-mail address is all the students asking for homework help.

No matter what the subject matter, there’s a student somewhere who is writing a paper about it. And instead of googling for resources, that student googles for a person who can get them those resources. Could you please send along all the PDFs you downloaded for your blog post as well as any other resources you think might be helpful and then share everything else you know about the topic? BTW, the paper’s due tomorrow morning. Thanks!

Sometimes, the student even mentions the title of the blog post that inspired the research request.

I generally ignore these requests. I didn’t answer midnight panic-emails from my students, and I’m certainly not going to start doing so for someone else’s students. I’m sometimes tempted to respond to these queries with the same great advice as Austin Kleon: pretend I’m dead. This seems like a great strategy for most e-mail inbox queries. If I’m dead, I can’t tell you what I thought about a news article I read, I can’t send you my research, and I certainly can’t respond to your e-mail inquiry about this exciting new sponsored content opportunity.

But because teaching is so central to snackdinner’s mission, I want to be a bit more generous in my responses. The student reaching out to me might be genuinely confused about what to do next. So I’ve made this handy flowchart to help people looking for articles that they see referenced in the news, whether it’s news that I or anyone else wrote about.

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