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Biology / LaBounty: Information Literacy and Science Literature: Home

A look at the different types of articles that are available in biology. How to find primary and secondary articles, and how to read and interpret the findings in these articles.

In this guide...

  1. Learn the differences between primary and secondary literature
  2. View presentations on how to find peer reviewed journals and how to search library databases
  3. Get links to publications and databases at the Egan Library
  4. Get help with how to read a scientific paper
  5. Get answers when you have more questions

New York Times

Scientific American

Your Assignment

This guide has resources in support of the BIO assignment where you:

  • Locate an article in the Science section of the Tuesday New York Times or Scientific American that relates to biology. Use an article that was published in the last 5 months. Please focus on articles reporting on recent discoveries, rather than society, education, technology, etc..
  • Use Egan Library databases or Google Scholar to locate the source - the original publication cited in the first article.
  • Check the response from the scientific community. Has the peer-reviewed article been cited by more recent articles? If the article is too recent to have responses yet, look to see what related articles have been cited.

Questions to ask as you complete the assignment

How do the two articles differ?  In language?  In information provided?  In structure? 

When is the review article a good source for your information?  Is it complete? 

Can you think of times when the primary (peer reviewed) article would be more preferable to find and read and cite?  When?


Jennifer Ward's picture
Jennifer Ward
Egan Library
University of Alaska Southeast