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ZSR Library

BIO 150L & 160L Biology Labs: Guide to Finding Primary Sources

This research guide has useful resources for finding primary sources to write biology lab reports.

Top 5 Questions on How to Search Library Databases

1. Do ZSR Library databases use natural language searching or keyword searching?

  • Keyword searching!

2. If you have too many irrelevant article results, which search command should you use to connect more keywords?

  • AND (or use the second row) if you want to enter more than one word that is not an exact phrase

3. If you have too few or no article results, which search command should you use to connect synonym keywords?

  • OR

4. How do you expand your keyword search to singular or plural or variant spelling endings of a word?

  • Add * to the root word (aka truncate the root word). For example, child* searches for child, children, childhood, etc.
  • If you can't use a star to search for spelling variants, use OR

5.  Can students save time by searching library databases instead of Google for primary sources?

  • YES!

Using Credible Sources in Biology

Primo Search Box: Everything

ZSR Library Primo Discovery Catalog


Welcome! You've found the research guide for BIO 150L & 160L Biology Labs. Hopefully these library resources will be helpful to find primary sources as you write your lab reports.

Scientific Papers

Information on Scientific Papers from Nature Education

Primary sources:

  • Present information and original research for the first time
  • Contain unique information
  • Uses a "peer-review" or "referee" process, in which articles are reviewed by other experts in the field
  • Review articles, which compile or analyze primary sources, are considered secondary sources

Other Sources

Sources that do not undergo a "peer review" process are not typically considered as an academic resource. 

  • Websites
  • Wikipedia
  • Newspaper/magazine articles

Getting Started (specifically devoted to life sciences)

Library databases are better than Google when you have a more specific research topic because each library database covers a specific subject discipline. WFU has subscriptions to over 300 databases in all academic subjects. WFU students can use these while on the WFU campus network, or off-campus using the Virtual Private Network (VPN) via Cisco AnyConnect.

Scientific Writing

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