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Research Guides

BIOL 401 Biological Writing (Summer 2024)

Medaka Fish

Medaka Fish in Space

Medaka Fish in Space

Edited NASA image of a medaka fish on the space station, by Stuart Rankin, Flickr, cc-by-nc, https://www.flickr.com/photos/24354425@N03/20891067169/.

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E-Journal Search

Howdy!

Welcome to library research for BIOL 401, Biological Writing.  This guide is intended to help you find library resources specifically aimed at research for this class.  Links are all proxied so that they can be used from wherever you have internet access.  Off campus, you will be asked to authenticate as a Texas A&M student with your net ID and password.  

Search for Journal Articles

Finding articles in the journal literature requires the use of indexing and abstracting databases.  The databases listed here are good for general biological searching.  They are listed in increasing order of comprehensiveness.  For specialized topics, see the alternate tab.

Biology is blessed (or cursed) with a multitude of specialized databases.  Many of these are listed below.  Coverage is given in a note, if not obvious from the name.  For auxiliary fields, such as agriculture, chemistry, bioengineering, medicine, and so forth, see the "Auxiliary Fields" tab.

EndNote for Bibliographic Management

Here are the three tutorials for this class on using EndNote.  Note that some of the websites may have changed.

EndNote 1: Importing References

EndNote 2: Working with Styles

EndNote 3: Working with Word

If you would like hands on practice and instruction, please attend one of our library workshops.  Here is the link to reserve your spot:

Library Endnote Workshops

Here are links to the Libraries' EndNote and RefWorks guides.  Rather than recreate the wheel, I've linked to the existing guides, so that any updates will automatically appear.

For a (relatively) unbiased comparison, along with Zotero and Mendeley, see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6013132/.

Scholarly References

Scholarly Article

What is a Scholarly Article?

When your instructor asks you to find scholarly articles they are wanting you to use resources written by experts in academic or professional fields. These articles serve to provide specialists in a particular field with information about what has been studied or researched on a topic as well as to find bibliographies that point to other relevant sources of information. 

What is a Journal and what are Journal Articles?

Journals are academic or scholarly publications in which information relating to a particular academic discipline is published.  Students can most easily relate to this concept by picturing their favorite magazine.  Similar to a magazine, scholarly publications usually come out about once a month on a regular and continual basis.  Also like magazines, each journal is filled with articles that are stand-alone, each with their own content and author(s).  Lastly, they are similar in that all the articles in each of the issues of the journal publication are on a various topics based on some area of interest.  

That is where the similarity ends.  Journals are not magazines because they are professional publications edited and reviewed by other professionals of a similar field.  Editors volunteer for editing services and are not paid by the journal directly.  Their reward usually takes the form of increased reputation in the field and merit in their individual institutions.  In this way there is a higher amount of quality control as well as affluence and influence for the journal where the articles are published while also deterring special interests from controlling content.  Many times the quality of a journal is directly correlated with the reputation of the editing panel in their respective field of expertise.

Here is an example of how that might impact Biology research areas: someone who is a researcher or professor in microbiology performs painstaking research on a topic, collects data, and comes up with some new ideas.  This researcher will want to submit their article to a journal where it will be read by other people who are doing similar research or looking for well tested results.  Before the information will be permitted to be published, individuals with enough expertise to understand the content of the article and a good reputation in the discipline will decide if that information is good information that should be published in their journal or "fake news" or information that is not on-topic for the journal that should be rejected.

What is Peer-review?

Scholarly peer-review is the process of reviewing an author's scholarly work, research, or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field before a paper describing this work is published in a journal or as a book.  Most, but not all, peer-review is unpaid professional refereeing.  Most, but not all, scholarly works are peer-reviewed.

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