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Biology

A quick guide to starting your research in biology, molecular biology, and biochemistry.

Is it Peer Reviewed?

Not sure if your article is peer reviewed? Look for these clues:

Author. The author's credentials & institution should be listed. Authors of peer reviewed articles typically have graduate degrees and are a faculty member at a university.

Abstract. Many peer reviewed articles begin with an abstract, which is a paragraph summarizing the research.

Audience. Peer reviewed articles are written for scholars, researchers, & students who are knowledgeable about the topic, and likely use specialized terminology.

Purpose. What is the purpose of the article? Does the author want to support findings of a research project, present a case study, make an argument that is supported by evidence or research, etc.?

References. Peer reviewed articles typically include a bibliography that cites other peer reviewed sources.

Database Searching

1. Start by identifying the major concepts, themes, works, or authors that you want to research. These are your keywords. Only type your keywords into the search box- don't try to type in an entire thesis statement or research question. 

2. Most of the time, you'll either have too many search results to sort through, or too few to choose from. Use the following tips to expand or limit your search results as needed. These tips should work in most library databases. Some databases have additional or different tips you can try. When you're in a database, look for a link labeled "Help" or "Search Help" for information specific to that database.

searching tips for when you get too many or too few results

When you’ve found one good source, try this:
Subject headings  Does the database list any subject headings to your source? Click on these links to find more.
Reference List Browse your source’s reference list or bibliography to find additional sources on the same topic.
Who’s cited this? Use Go  ogle Scholar or Web of Science to find sources that have cited your source since it was published.
Author Has the same author published additional material on the topic.   

Citation Information

Have a question? Ask a librarian! Email libref@stetson.edu. Call or text 386-747-9028.