Assignment Bio14

Laboratory 4
Part II: Into the Peer-Reviewed Literature

Learning Objectives

The objectives of this laboratory assignment are to understand the general process and importance of the peer-review publication process, become familiar with the subject-specific and general academic databases that index and archive journals, learn to identify and search for peer-reviewed articles, be able to create proper citations, and to be able to recognize and write in established scientific articles format and style.


One important way that scientists communicate the results of their research is to public their work as articles in peer-reviewed journals. For all scientists and students, these articles are an important source of information about what research has already been conducted, what methods can be used to investigate certain questions and organisms, and what important questions have not yet been studied much. Thus, as important skill for all scientists to have is the skill of effectively navigating through the vast ocean of published literature. Improving your literature research skills is the main goal of today’s lab during which you will learn about the peer-reviewed process, how to find article online efficiently, and how references are properly cited and written.

Pay attention because these are skills that you will need as you conduct background literature research for your own research project.

General citation format for journal articles

Citation formats vary widely from journal to journal, which is why you will see many formats in reference lists as you read papers from many journals. However, the most common format is illustrated in the example below and this is the general format that you should follow for a specific journal. (For other reference formats such as web sites, newspapers, books, etc., please see Bio 14 Library Research’s Citation Format page.)

Pay close attention to where commas, periods, and colons are – and are not – placed in this reference.

Bergeron, P., Festa-Bianchet, M., von Hardenberg, A., Bassano, B. 2008. Heterogeneity in male horn
                Growth and longevity in a highly sexually dimorphic ungulate. Oikos 117: 77-82.

Use one of the databases discussed in class to search for the article listed above. Obtain the pdf file of the article. Use this article to answer the questions in the Bio 14 Laboratory book (Laboratory 4, Part II)

Part III: Developing Life-long Learning Skills – Accessing Scientific Information at the Library and over the World Wide Web

As you work through the library research Web pages, you will begin to develop and sharpen your library research skills. With these skills in hand, you will be in a position to complete the library exercise described below or to find material for one of your laboratory reports.

To complete this assignment you will need to do the following:

  1. Get an assigned topic from your instructor
  2. In groups of three, use the guidelines to find relevant resources
  3. Fill out the worksheet as a group

First, read the instructions and go through the tutorial. Once you have done this, you are ready to find information on your topic.

In groups of three:

  1. identify key words for searching the libraries sources
  2. locate, read and evaluate those sources
  3. fill out the attached worksheet and hand in a copy of it to your laboratory instructor. Be sure to include three of each type of source and that all citations are complete.

If you have any questions about the web site or the assignment, e-mail a librarian or your instructor.