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BIOL 208: Ecology & Evolution

A guide for conducting research in Ecology & Evolution

The Research Cycle at a Glance

The Big Picture

Unlike the general public who rely on newspapers and popular magazines for information, biologists often conduct research conversations via peer-reviewed journal articles.

What are Research Conversations?

Topic too broad?

Topic too narrow?

Writing the Lit. Review

  • Consult with your professor to approve your topic--professors are a resource too!
  • Research is a process; not an event.  Because the research process is iterative and ongoing it will probably be difficult to obtain the best resources for your paper in one search session.  Plan on taking time to reformulate your ideas on the topic as you become more informed, create new search strategies to find additional information and draw connections between the articles you find.
  • In order to write for this assignment, you have to get up-to-speed with a research conversation on your topic. Your ability to understand the conversation requires careful reading in order to effectively tap into the conversation.
  • The focus of a literature review is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of others without adding new contributions.
  • An Annotated Bibliography may help you organize your thoughts about the individual articles you find.  This may also help speed up your writing process later.
  • After reading and writing about each individual article, begin to think about what connections you can make between the articles.