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Biology 150

Suggested Library Databases

To limit your search results to only Peer-Reviewed articles.

  1. Enter 2-3 keywords into the search box and hit search
  2. Look on the left side of the results page
  3. Check the Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals box
  4. Limit the date by entering a new date range or using the slider
  5. Click Update

Suggested Sites for Web-Based Peer-Reviewed Articles

WARNING: Many web-based search engines do not provide full-text articles without payment. NEVER PAY for an article. Instead submit an Interlibrary Loan request; it’s likely that we can get it for you for free.

How to Identify Primary Literature

Scholarly Biology Journals will often have two types of articles:

  • Secondary Literature looks at other peoples' research and summarizes it.
  • Primary Literature reports the actual research being conducted by the authors of the article.

Primary Literature articles will often have these distinct sections:

  • Abstract: Brief summary of the article and its contents.
  • Introduction: Provides background and possibly discusses earlier research.
  • Methods: Lays out the methods used to conduct the research.
  • Results: Reports the results of the research. Often includes charts and/or tables.
  • Discussion and/or Conclusion: Discusses the results for the research and talks about other steps that can be taken.
  • Literature Cited or Bibliography: Lists sources cited in the article.

Check to see if the article has a METHODS section and a RESULTS section. If it DOES NOT have these two sections IT IS NOT PRIMARY LITERATURE.

Scholary Sources VS Popular Sources

Scholarly Sources

Picture of the cover of the American Journal of Psychology, which is blue with some yellow lines.

Popular Sources

Picture of the cover of Psychology Today which is a sheep in glasses.

  • Author: Written by experts (scientists, professors, scholars) in a particular field.
  • Audience: Written for other experts in a particular field.
  • Language: Very technical and scholarly. Not easily understood.
  • Citations: Provide complete and formal citations for sources.
  • Review Process: Often reviewed by a panel of scholars in the field being studied. (Peer-Reviewed)
  • Author: Written by professional writers, journalists, or members of the general public.
  • Audience: Written for the general public.
  • Language: Basic and clear. Easily understood.
  • Citations: Provide informal or no citations for sources.
  • Review Process: Reviewed by an editor or self-published with no formal review process.

REMEMBER: Popular DOES NOT equal bad. Check with your professors to find out which popular sources they accept.

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