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BIO 205

What is a Database?

  • Research tools that help you find articles in journals, magazines, or newspapers, or other information sources like books, videos, and maps.
  • Some focus on a kind of source (like newspaper articles); most of ours focus on scholarly research in a specific academic field.

(Ruth Szpunar at DePauw University)

Scientific Journals

The best sources to cite are scholarly, scientific journal articles that are "peer-reviewed" (screened for publication by the author's peers).

Primary Article - First report of new research that includes actual data and describes experimental methods

Review Article - Secondary report that summarizes and discusses previous research findings

The databases below can help you to locate scholarly, scientific, and/or peer-reviewed articles relevant to the biological sciences.

Recommended Databases

Other Sources

Some sources can be consulted for ideas or background, but cannot take the place of peer-reviewed journals. For example:

Websites - Avoid citing personal websites (even those of scientists) unless they are hosted by a scientific research institution.

Encyclopedias - Avoid citing encyclopedias unless they are science-specific and peer-reviewed, e.g. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (eLS).

Magazines - Avoid citing general magazines (even science magazines like Discover or Science News).

Books - Avoid citing books unless they are written by and for scientists, and published by a scientific or university press. Books are usually secondary sources.