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BIOL 108: Principles and Methods in Biology

This course guide was developed specifically for Biology 108 to provide information about research for your class project.

What is Scientific Literature?

Scientific literature comprises scholarly publications that report on researchobserved, experienced, or theoretical—in the natural and social sciences.

Parts of a Scientific Paper

For the most part, a typical peer-reviewed scientific paper includes the following sections:

  • Title: Subject of the paper and what was studied.
  • Abstract: Brief summary, including the reason for the study, the primary results, and the main conclusions.
  • Introduction: General background, and sometimes a brief literature review; why the study was done.
  • Methods and Materials: How the study was performed, including techniques and equipment, so that it can be replicated by others.
  • Results: What happened during the study.
  • Discussion: What the results mean and why they are significant.
  • Conclusion: Summary of the results; may include reasons why further research is needed.
  • List of References (or Bibliography): Provides documentation of the sources consulted for the study.

Popular vs Scholarly Sources

What is a 'Peer Reviewed' or 'Refereed' article?

Tip! Remember: all peer-reviewed articles are scholarly, but not all scholarly articles are peer-reviewed.