Research Guide for

BIOL 2207 Cell Biology (Carlson)


Find Peer-Reviewed Articles

Science Databases

Journal articles in the health and life sciences.
Articles from scholarly journals in the biological, ecological and environmental sciences.

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

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.

Medical Databases

CINAHL Complete
Peer-reviewed research articles from health care journals, nursing Continuing Education (CE) modules, standards of practice, evidence-based care sheets, and some health care ebooks. The primary database for nursing research.

Nursing & Allied Health Premium (ProQuest)
Articles from academic and trade publications in nursing and allied health professions. Includes a video library of clinical trainings in nursing..

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.

General Databases

Scholarly articles, ebooks, and primary sources in the social sciences, humanities, earth and biological sciences, and more. Includes image results from Artstor.

MasterFILE Complete
Popular and trade magazines, ebooks, some academic journals, and a searchable image collection. A general database.


Combined Search

Combined Search

Combined Search helps find articles, books, and videos from the library collection.

Note: Combined Search results include both online content and paper books available for pickup at the library. Follow these instructions to request a book (PDF) be held for pickup.


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, oftentimes journalists or popular writers
  • If an article, published in popular magazines or newspapers (Time, Popular Mechanics, The New York Times) or, if a book, by popular publishing houses (Penguin, Random House)
  • 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
  • If an article, published in an academic journal (The Journal of Academic Emergency Medicine, PMLA, The New England Journal of Medicine) or, if a book, by an academic or university press (Routledge, Oxford University Press)
  • If an article, will undergo peer review (see below)
  • 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 a process where an academic article is reviewed and edited before it is published in an academic journal. This is a unique process that isn't done by any other type of publication. The article is reviewed by other experts in the field, usually other professors or working professionals. 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/Original Research
  • Experiments, clinical trials, original research conducted by the authors.
  • Contains sections about methodology, materials, results, and discussion.

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

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

Learn About Scholarly Publishing

Peer Review video by North Carolina State University Library

Structure of Scientific Research Papers by Steve Kirk

Ask a Librarian

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Access Databases from Off Campus

Off-Campus Access Info
In order to access databases and other Library resources from off campus, login with your StarID and password when prompted.  Off-campus access to library databases is only available to current Normandale students, staff, and faculty.


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.