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BIOL 107: Principles of Plant Biology

This guide will help you with research in BIOL 107

Sources in the Sciences

When you are trying to identify primary sources in the sciences, think first-hand, contemporary, direct evidence or data, and original research.

Primary sources in the sciences could be conference papers, dissertations, letters, lab reports, studies, peer-reviewed scholarly work all with original research. One quick way to determine whether you are looking at a primary source to to look for the IMRD format -- the paper should include the following:  Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussions.

If any of these components are missing, you are not looking at a primary source. Reviews and review articles can also be helpful for gathering background information and can be a great way to find primary sources (Hint: Check the reference section of reviews for a list of the primary sources used to write the review).

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Is this peer-reviewed?

There are several tools that can help determine if an article is peer-reviewed.

  • First, you can check to see if the journal itself is peer reviewed by going to the journal's website. A quick Google search will get you there. (Hint: Type in the journal and peer reviewed). 
  • Warning: Not everything within the peer-reviewed journal is peer reviewed (book reviews, opinion pieces). 
  • Additionally, you can use the library databases to help limit by peer-reviewed articles. However, this will greatly limit your results.