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Biology

This research guide is a resource for students studying biology at WCC

Finding Articles

Finding Articles Quick Tips

Before you begin your research, have a good understanding of the types of sources you need. 

  • Peer-Reviewed / Scholarly articles 

Note: Peer-reviewed articles are also referred to as scholarly articles, referred articles, and academic articles. 

What is an article? Why use a journal article?

An article is defined as a piece of writing shorter than a book, appearing in a newspaper, magazine, periodical, journal, or anthology.  To be scholarly, an article must be based on research and include documentation of all sources.

  • articles present the most recent published literature on any topic.
  • articles are published in periodicals.

Why use a journal article? Use journal articles because they contain:

  • when you need original research on a topic
  • specialized information, not available elsewhere
  • factual documented information to reinforce a position
  • articles and essays written by scholars or subject experts
  • references lists that point you to other relevant research

Peer-Review Process

What is a peer-reviewed article?

Peer review is the system used to assess the quality of a manuscript before it is published. Independent researchers in the relevant research area assess submitted manuscripts for originality, validity and significance to help editors determine whether a manuscript should be published in their journal.

Source: BioMedCentral. (n/a). Peer review process. https://www.biomedcentral.com/getpublished/peer-review-process

Peer-review process for publication in a journal:

Source: Scientific Forefront Journal. (n/a). Publication process. http://www.scientificforefront.org/publicationprocess.php

How to Read a Peer-Reviewed Article

Source: (2019). How I read a scholarly article. University of Illinois Undergraduate Library https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZS1Beio11M&feature=emb_logo

How to Read a Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Article

1. Read the abstract

An abstract is a summary of the article, and will give you an idea of what the article is about and how it will be written. If there are lots of complicated subject-specific words in the abstract, the article will be just as hard to read.

2. Read the conclusion - Many articles do not include a section header for conclusion - Go to discussion 

This is where the author will repeat all of their ideas and their findings. Some authors even use this section to compare their study to others. By reading this, you will notice a few things you missed, and will get another overview of the content.

3. Read the first paragraph or the introduction

This is usually where the author will lay out their plan for the article and describe the steps they will take to talk about their topic. By reading this, you will know what parts of the article will be most relevant to your topic!

4. Read the first sentence of every paragraph

These are called topic sentences, and will usually introduce the idea for the paragraph that follows. By reading this, you can make sure that the paragraph has information relevant to your topic before you read the entire thing. 

5. The rest of the article

Now that you have gathered the idea of the article through the abstract, conclusion, introduction, and topic sentences, you can read the rest of the article!

To review: Abstract → Conclusion (and Discussion) → Introduction → Topic Sentences → Entire Article