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Lab Reports- Guide to Primary Literature in Biology

Lab Reports- Guide to Primary Literature in Biology - Guide...

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Guide to the Primary Literature in Biology for BISC 220 - Spring 2010 Introduction In your lab reports and classic literature presentations, you will need to find, read, understand, and incorporate articles from the primary biological literature. These articles, often called “original research papers” or just “research papers,” are the formal statements of biological findings. Through them, biologists communicate their research findings to the scientific community and the general public. The typical format of these papers is outlined in the document “Guidelines for BISC 220 Lab Reports.” We hope that writing your lab reports in this format will help you understand scientific papers better. The purpose of the present document is to describe how primary research papers differ from other types of scientific literature, and how to search for such papers. Types of Scientific Literature Primary research articles are the original reports of scientific findings and ideas. The authors themselves performed the work reported. Generally, these are research papers in scholarly journals aimed at a scientific audience. The articles are refereed, which means that before publication, the journal editor obtained confidential reviews from 2-3 experts in the field before deciding whether the manuscript should be rejected, accepted, or accepted after suitable revision. Some journals attempt to cover all of science. Examples would be Science and Nature . Most journals, however, focus on specialized disciplines. Examples of these would be Neuron , Journal of Endocrinology , Journal of Physiology , etc. Primary research articles in such journals usually deal with highly specific subjects. Ideally, the subject is well described by the title of the paper. Sometimes, scientists publish their original research in conference proceedings, Ph.D.
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