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BIOL 4290: Marine Biology and Ocean Sustainability

Resources to help you complete the presentation assignment in BIOL 4290, Fall 2017

Top Databases for Marine Biology and Ocean Sustainabiity

Wikipedia and Google Scholar should only be starting points for your research. Wikipedia entries are not reliable sources because they aren't reviewed rigorously, but the references and external links may be helpful to you. Google Scholar contains scholarly articles, but not from all scholarly journals that are published. That's why you should search in the databases listed below as well as Google Scholar to be certain you get good coverage of your topic. Have fun searching!

Find Articles is a resource that searches through 92% of our databases at once and identifies peer-reviewed and full text articles on your topic. You'll get lots of hits, so remember to refine your results and add more search terms as needed.

Primary and Secondary Sources

Often when doing a research assignment, you are required to use only primary or secondary sources. What is the difference between them?

Primary sources in science are based on first-hand observation, experimentation, or modeling and report 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

When searching for articles, you can find a primary source by adding [study] to your search terms and can find a secondary source by adding [review] to your search terms. These terms appear in the abstracts of the journal articles.

What is Peer Review?

Many instructors require you to use peer-reviewed sources for your papers and projects, 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:

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