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BIOL 1740: Biology for Science Majors II Lab: Peer-Reviewed and Primary

How to locate a peer-reviewed, primary source, research article for your written assignment.

What Is Peer Review?

You are required you to use a peer-reviewed article for your writing assignment, but what does that mean?

  • Peer review is the process of having experts in a field review the quality of an article or book before it is published
  • Most articles in scholarly and academic journals are peer-reviewed
  • Books published by university or academic presses are peer-reviewed

Most databases allow you to limit your search to peer-reviewed articles. Here are two examples:

What Are Primary Sources?

You are required to use a journal article that is a primary source for your writing assignment. Here are the characterisitics of a primary source in science:

  • Based on first-hand observation, experimentation, or modeling
  • Reports new research or findings

Examples of primary sources are:

  • a journal article reporting new findings from a laboratory
  • a report on new findings from a wildlife management study
  • the handwritten instructions for how to do a new lab procedure

Secondary sources analyze and interpret primary sources. These are examples in science:

  • an article reviewing the last 10 years of published research about penguins (often called a review article or literature review)
  • a book about the discovery of DNA structure
  • a movie about the life of Charles Darwin

Subject Guide

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Erin O'Toole
Willis Library, Room 080

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