Biology 172
About Primary Scientific Literature

Characteristics of primary scientific literature:

- Articles that document original research and are, in general, written in enough detail that someone could repeat the experiments/research to verify the results.

  • These studies are usually very specific - focusing on a narrow topic.

- After analyzing inerpreting the data, the researchers often make claims based on the data gathered. That is, they make claims based on evidence.

- In scientific literature researchers link both their rationale for the study and the findings to those of the larger scientific community by specifically communicating how their work relates to what has come before.

- Papers may be difficult to read if the general subject isn't well understood: reading secondary works such as books or review articles first may help to place the research in context.

 

How to Search Primary Scientific Literature Using Electronic Databases

Scenario: You are planning on brewing your own beer. You would like to find primary research articles on how to improve the beer fermentation process of yeast.

Principle: To effectively search databases for primary research articles, you must create a search strategy.

Guidelines

  • Summarize your topic in the form of a focused research question.
  • Select an appropriate database.
  • Identify the key concepts/ideas that your topic covers.
  • Enter your search.
  • Reflect on your results. Refine or expand your search as necessary.
Will Breitbach
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Cathy Vu
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Pollak Library California State University Fullerton
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