Authoritative information sources

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Educating yourself about cichlids (e.g., their morphology, taxonomy, ecology) is not overly complicated. Plenty of resources are available, including books, magazines, websites, and even social media. The key to good information is the source. Don’t underestimate this. With an abundance of inaccurate/bad information easily available, it can be difficult to distinguish the good from the bad.

If you really want to dig into the authoritative information about cichlids, consider primary sources such as scholarly publications. Simply go to Google Scholar and enter a search term or terms. Sure, there are other online search tools, but Google Scholar is better than most, especially if you learn how to use it.

Many scholarly research papers are freely available online. Yes, most of these are heavily laden with scientific terms because that’s what they are, science publications. However, you don’t have to read the whole paper. Skip to the results/discussion/conclusion sections. Typically, the results of the research are understandable by the lay person. Furthermore, the results have been vetted by other researchers, generally ensuring that what you read is accurate. ​If you want to take it a step farther, dictate the context by contacting the author(s) directly. The affiliations of scholarly article authors are nearly always included on the title page of the article. If the affiliation is an academic institution, which it is most of the time, visit the institution’s website and search for the author’s name in the directory. E-mail addresses for professors and researchers are typically accessible.  If you have a specific question, especially related to their published research, ask them.  In fact, many scholars love to communicate with the public, and you would be surprised how many will respond to your inquiry.

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