Research Guide for

BIOL 1501 Principles of Biology 1 (Gonsar)

Find Articles

Academic Search Premier (EbscoHost)
Articles in all subjects from scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers. An all-purpose database and often a good place to start.

Journal articles in the health and life sciences.

Science E-book Collection (Gale)
Selected ebooks on science topics from Gale.

Science (AAAS)

Online version of the journal Science published by the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science).

Science Reference Center
Science magazines and encyclopedias for a general audience.

Science (Gale OneFile)
Articles from scholarly science journals and science and industry magazines.

PubMed contains citations to articles in MEDLINE and other sources. Selected full text articles available. Click the Find Full Text button with the Normandale logo to see if the full text of the article is available in another database.

Types of Sources

Within the broad discourse of a field, there are many different kinds of sources. In academic writing, we usually divide sources into academic or scholarly sources, and popular sources. One central difference is that academic and scholarly sources go through a process called peer review, while popular sources do not.

What is the difference between scholarly sources and popular sources? The Georgetown University Library has a good comparison between the two here.

Popular Sources

  • Written by non-experts for a general audience
  • Published in popular magazines or newspapers (Time, Popular Mechanics, The New York Times)
  • Not edited or reviewed by experts before publication
  • Often contain no references
  • Often have advertising or look flashy and eye-catching

Scholarly Sources

  • Written by experts (usually professors) for an academic audience
  • Published in academic journals (The Journal of Academic Emergency Medicine, PMLA, The New England Journal of Medicine)
  • Edited and reviewed by other experts before publication
  • Contain references
  • Have minimal or no advertising; look very plain.

What is peer review? The publisher Elsevier has a good overview here. Peer review is the process by which an academic article is reviewed and edited before it is published in an academic journal. It is reviewed by other experts in the field. If it doesn't meet high academic standards or contains bad information, it is sent back to the author for revision, or outright rejected. This process ensures that only the best articles are published by academic journals.

Within scholarly sources, there is also the distinction between primary sources and secondary sources. Within the sciences, this is offen the difference between original research and reviews. The BMCC library has a good overview of the difference between primary and secondary sources here

Primary Research

  • Experiments, clinical trials, original research conducted by the authors.
  • Contains sections about methodology, materials, results, and discussion.

Reviews/Secondary Sources

  • Reviews and interprets someone else's original research.
  • Summarizes multiple different studies.
  • Does not contain methodology, results, or discussion sections.

Articles for Biological Literature in-class assignment:

Article One
Article Two


Article for CAPPS Source Evaluation in-class assignment

Article - "Doctors Say No to GMOs"

Evaluate Source Credibility

Evaluate each source you use with CAPPS!
Consider the source's –
C = Currency
A = Author
P = Publication
P = Point of View
S = Sources

More info about CAPPS pdf

Peer Review video by North Carolina State University Library

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Access Databases from Off Campus

Off-Campus Access Info
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Cite Your Sources (SSF)

Scientific Style and Format (CSE Style)
The online version of the science writing and citation guide, published by the Council of Science Editors (CSE). See Part 4 Chapter 29 for information on how to cite your sources.