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Biology & Microbiology

Learn how to find books, articles and other resources related to biology and microbiology.

Introduction to Finding Scientific Journal Articles on Ecology, Evolution, or Animal Structure/Function Topics

Photo of trees in Muir Woods

For this assignment, each of you is looking for at least five scientific journal articles on an evolution, ecology, or animal structure/function topic.

This guide will walk you through how to find, and use, Library databases that will help with your assignment. Specifically, this guide will show you how to:

If you get stuck, need help, or have questions, please use the Chat Box on the left.



National Park Service. Muir Woods Monument

Finding Topics & Background Information

When beginning your research, it sometimes helps to see lists of potential topics and find out some background information on ones that interest you.

​Background sources, also called reference sources, include things like encyclopedias and dictionaries that provide us with basic facts, overviews, and terminology. Even though these are NOT the kinds of sources you will cite for this assignment, these can help you determine which of your three potential topics is truly the most interesting to you, and they can teach you some of the terminology you may need when looking for scientific journal articles on your topic.

The 7 minute video below shows you how to find topic ideas and background sources using a database called Gale in Context: Science


Introduction to Scientific Journal Articles

The first step to finding good scientific journal articles is understanding what these articles should look like and the kinds of information they should include.

The great 4 minute video below describes the parts of a scientific article -- like methods and discussion -- and the function each of these performs. (Since all of you have read some scientific journal articles already, this serves as a review of the structure and function of journal articles.)

Finding Scientific Journal Articles in Academic Search Complete

Scholarly journals, also called peer reviewed journals, include detailed articles written for other scholars and researchers in the field. 

research article in a science journal will describe experiments or observational studies conducted on your topic. A review article in a science journal will survey the field of research that has been done on a particular topic or issue.

The 8 minute video below will show you how to search for scientific journal articles using Academic Search Complete.


Finding Scientific Journal Articles in Science Direct

Pierce gives you access to many different databases (you can view the full list here) because each database includes unique content.

The 6 minute video below shows you how we can look for additional scientific journal articles using a database called Science Direct.


Want More?

Looking for even more tools you can use to find scientific journal articles on your topics? Try searching in these additional databases: