Skip to main content

BIO111 - General Biology - Cross

For students in Jill Cross's BIO111 class

Meet Your Librarian

Stella Beratlis's picture
Stella Beratlis
Contact:
Need help now? We have Research Drop-In Hours every day: go to the Ask a Librarian page to get immediate help.

Spring 2021 office hours: Tues 10-11 AM or by appointment: https://cccconfer.zoom.us/j/92799276793

Chat: If you see the "Ask Stella" button, that means I'm available to chat--feel free to connect.

If you call me, pls leave a voicemail and it will be routed to my email inbox. My goal is to respond to all emails and calls within 24 hours Mon-Thurs. If you call or email late on Friday or during weekends/holidays, I'll reply the next working day.
209-575-6245
Website Skype Contact: beratliss

Welcome to Research

Biology: Welcome

Hi, I'm Stella Beratlis, one of the MJC librarians and the library liaison for the Science, Math, and Engineering division.  I love working with students at any stage of their research. I can help you in person at the reference desk, by phone (575-6245), or by email (beratliss@mjc.edu).
This is a general guide for students interested in locating information related to biology using library resources available at the MJC Library & Learning Center. 

More Helpful Guides

Finding Articles

Recommended Databases

Recommended Databases: 

Using Print Journals

If you are using a printed journal, you will need to examine it physically to determine its peer-review status. Follow these steps:

  1. Locate the masthead of the publication. The masthead is usually located at the front or the end of the periodical, and contains publication information such as the editors of the journal, the publisher, the place of publication, the subscription cost and similar information. Does the journal say that it is peer-reviewed? If so, you're done! If not, please continue.
     
  2. Check in and around the masthead to locate the method for submitting articles to the publication. If you find information similar to "to submit articles, send three copies…", the journal is probably peer-reviewed. In this case, you are assuming that the publication is then going to send those multiple copies of the article to the journal's reviewers. This may not always be the case, so relying upon this criterion alone may prove inaccurate.
     
  3. Find the official Web site to determine if the journal is peer-reviewed by examine the "About Us" (or similar) information. Be careful to use the official site...the Web address can often be located near the masthead.

Organizing Your Research

Research Management Tools

It is a best practice to use a personal content management tool to organize your own reference material which could be articles, data sets, books, websites, images and more. These tools will save you time and allow you to work more efficiently.
Reference management software programs, web tools, and browser extensions allow you to organize your research, collect and cite sources, create bibliographies in a variety of styles, add your own notes and keywords to your citations. Many reference managers work with word processing software to format in-text citations and bibliographies for papers and theses, allow you to share references, and enable you to attach or link PDFs to a citation record.

Primary vs. Secondary Research Articles

Primary vs. Secondary Articles

Definitions of what is primary or secondary differs across the disciplines. For the sciences, this is how we would define the different types of sources:

Primary source literature in the sciences:

  • documents the results of original research

  • is written by those who have conducted the research

  • includes firsthand information about their methodologies, data, results, or conclusions.

Secondary source literature in the sciences:

  • summarizes, compares, critiques, or interprets the primary literature.

Tertiary sources in the sciences:

  • are collections of primary and/or secondary sources.

Characteristics of primary sources in the sciences include:

  • Report original research, ideas, or scientific discoveries for the first time

  • Report results/findings/data from experiments or research studies

  • May also be referred to as primary research, primary articles, or research studies

  • DO NOT include meta-analyses, systematic reviews, or literature reviews - these are secondary sources

  • Are frequently found in peer-reviewed or scholarly journals

  • Should explain the research methodology used (randomized controlled trial, etc)

  • Frequently include methods, results, and discussion sections

  • Are factual, not interpretive

Flow of scientific information diagram

Journal Titles

Finding Full Journal Title

What's the Full Title of the Journal Abbreviation? 

Scientific publications often include citations that have abbreviated journal titles. For example:

Kenyon L, Harrison NA, Ashburner GR, Boa ER, Richardson PA.1998. Detection of a pigeon pea witches’-broom-related phytoplasma in trees of Gliricidia sepium affected by little-leaf disease in Central America.Plant Pathol. 47:671–80.

In this example, Plant Pathol. stands for the journal Plant Pathology. To identify the title of a journal that you are looking for, consult the following guide to Scientific Journal Abbreviations (created by Kevin Lindstrom, Univ. of British Columbia):

Science and Engineering Journal Abbreviations

Finding Web Resources

Search Smarter

You don't want to wade through millions of Web pages. By using a few tricks, you can focus your searches relatively easily to those authoritative, reliable sources you want to use.

  • Use key search terms - Use the same search terms you used successfully to find books and articles.
  • Know your search tool - Use advanced search features to control your search. For example you can limit your search in Google to just search government or educational Web sites by limiting to a specific domain. Learn more at Google for Researchers.
  • Use search tools you can trust - Google Scholar indexes scholarly literature on the Web.

You can search Google Scholar below:

________________________________

Google Scholar Search

Don't Reinvent the Wheel

Top Level Sites

One of the best ways to begin the Web portion of your research is by identifying top-level sites. It works like this:  Think of what kind of information you want, and then try to think of an agency, organization, or institution who tracks and publishes information on that topic.  For instance:

For Information on…

You might try visiting the…

Breast Cancer

National Cancer Institute

History of football

National Football League

West Nile Virus

Center for Disease Control

Air Pollution

Environmental Protection Agency

Disappearing California Farmland

California Dept. of Agriculture

Nuclear Waste

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

 

Top level sites will not only be a likely source of high-quality information on your topic, but will also often provide links to other relevant sites that you can use to learn more about your topic.

Other ways you can identify appropriate top-level agencies include:

  • “Contact Information” sections included in the MJC Library article databases, CQ Researcher and Issues & Controversies
  • Agencies, organizations, and publications mentioned in books and articles you’ve already found
  • Discussions with your librarian and professor

Why Evaluate?

You need to ensure that you're using the highest quality sources of information for your academic work. As you gather information for your research project, you'll look at many different sources: books, articles from databases, Web documents, interviews, videos, and more.

You can feel pretty confident that books you get from the library and articles you find in the library's research databases are reliable and credible because you know those have gone through a traditional editorial process; someone or some group has checked all the facts and arguments the author made and then deemed them suitable for publishing.  You still have to think about whether or not the book or article is current and suitable for your project but you can feel confident that it is a credible, reliable source.

Use the CRAAP Test for Credibility

Finding information today is easy; it's all around you. Making sure the information you find is reliable can be a challenge.

When you use Google or any social media to get your information how do you know it can be trusted? How do you know it's not biased?

You can feel pretty confident that books you get from the library and articles you find in the library's databases are reliable because someone or some group has checked all the facts and arguments the author made before publishing them. You still have to think about whether or not the book or article is current and suitable for your project but you can feel confident that it is a trustworthy source.

Make sure each and every source you plan on using in your paper or research assignment passes the CRAAP test.

 

Evaluate your sources: The CRAAP Test

 

For more information on evaluating your sources, check out our CRAAP Test: Evaluate Your Sources guide.


Watch the brief video below to see how this works.

Writing and Presentation Help

Writing Help

The MJC Library & Learning Center has a number of resources that can help and librarians can lead you to web resources that may also be useful. In addition to contacting the MJC Writing Center to get help with your papers, the following are some recommended books and web resources to help you write well: 

Presentation Help

The MJC Library & Learning Center has a number of resources to help you with your presentation; check the resources below or make an appointment with a librarian:  

Images Online

Finding Images Online

Images, songs, videos, other non-textual works are covered under intellectual property laws, even if they don't have a copyright symbol. If you're looking to use an image, make sure you either use public-domain work (no permission or attribution required) or look for material which is licensed for use (try searching for images licensed through Creative Commons). 

However, for instructors and students, in general, images used in a classroom presentation, for a scholarly lecture, or in an unpublished assigned paper, fall under the concept of Fair Use or the TEACH ACT.  Fair use is an exception to the exclusive rights granted by copyright. For further information, consult Circular 21 of the United States Copyright Office. So you don't necessarily need to ask for permission. However, you still need to provide an attribution for the image; technically, a entry for the image should go into your References list as well. 

Keep in mind that if you want to present your image in a PowerPoint, it should be at least 72dpi, and about 1024x768 pixels. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service images

USA.gov image search. All federal materials are public domain.

Google Search (images). use limiter "site:gov" 

Creative Commons Images search 

Copyright-Friendly Portal

 

 

Citing Images

Your image source should be attributed with both in-text citation as well as a corresponding entry in your References list. 

Use a Caption: A reader should not have to refer to the text to understand the image. Explanatory text should include title, owner/artist and where the image is stored. In APA you must provide a copyright attribution in addition to citing item when you reproduce it in the body of your work. See Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, 2.12. p. 38.  For educational projects, look to instructor's instruction for further guidance. 

CITING images

In general, citing images can be complex. But don't fret; just do the best you can. Find photographer or artist's name; a date the photo was taken or when the image was created; where the original is stored; and where you found it (URL or publication information). Construct a citation as best as you can with that information. 

Here's a quick guide from Cornell University. 

Citing Sources

What is Plagiarism?

Whether you mean to do it or not, plagiarism is stealing. This brief video from Eastern Gateway Community College explains plagiarism and shows you ways you can avoid it.


Plagiarism does not apply only to written works; it also applies to images, graphics, charts, music, videos, etc. that you use in your research.

This form of Academic dishonesty applies to individual as well as group work and may result in partial credit, no credit, or failure of the exam or assignment. In addition, your instructor may forward the situation to the Office of Student Success for further disciplinary action such as suspension or removal from the course or college in accordance with the YCCD Board Policy and Procedure 5500: Standards of Student Conduct.

Consequences of Plagiarism at MJC

Plagiarism does not apply only to written works; it also applies to images, graphics, charts, music, videos, etc. that you use in your research.

This form of Academic dishonesty applies to individual as well as group work and may result in partial credit, no credit, or failure of the exam or assignment. In addition, your instructor may forward the situation to the Office of Student Success for further disciplinary action such as suspension or removal from the course or college in accordance with the YCCD Board Policy and Procedure 5500: Standards of Student Conduct.

APA Style, 7th Edition

APA Is All New

APA tutorial

In October 2019, the American Psychological Association made radical changes its style, especially with regard to the format and citation rules for students writing academic papers. Use this guide to learn how to format and cite your papers using APA Style, 7th edition.

You can start by viewing the video tutorial.

If you need to work in APA 6th edition you can view the old version here until 2021.


Tips for Citing Sources

It's important to make sure you collect all the information you need to cite a source as you gather your information so that you won't need to look it up again, so:

  • Take clear, accurate notes about where you found specific ideas
  • Write down the complete citation information for each book, article, etc. you use as you go along
  • Use quotation marks when directly stating another person's words
  • Always credit original authors for their information and ideas

Formatting Your Paper

The Rules

For help on all aspects of formatting your paper in APA Style, see The Essentials page on the APA Style website.

  • FontAPA recommends you use:
    • sans serif fonts such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode, or
    • serif fonts such as 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, or normal (10-point) Computer Modern (the default font for LaTeX)
  • Line SpacingIn general, double-space all parts of an APA Style paper, including the abstract, text, block quotations, table and figure numbers, titles, and notes, and reference list (including between and within entries). Do not add extra space before or after paragraphs.
    • There are exceptions for the title pagetablesfiguresfootnotes, and displayed equations.
  • MarginsUse 1-in. margins on every side of the page.
  • Paragraph Alignment and Indentation:
    • Align the text of an APA Style paper to the left margin. Leave the right margin uneven, or “ragged.”
    • Do not use full justification for student papers.
    • Do not insert hyphens (manual breaks) in words at the end of line. However, it is acceptable if your word-processing program automatically inserts breaks in long hyperlinks (such as in a DOI or URL in a reference list entry).
    • Indent the first line of each paragraph of text 0.5 in. from the left margin. Use the tab key or the automatic paragraph-formatting function of your word-processing program to achieve the indentation (the default setting is likely already 0.5 in.). Do not use the space bar to create indentation. 
    • There are exceptions for the title pagesection labelsabstractblock quotationsheadingstables and figuresreference list, and appendices.

Paper Elements

Student papers generally include, at a minimum: 

Student papers may include additional elements such as tables and figures depending on the assignment. So, please check with your teacher!

Student papers generally DO NOT include the following unless your teacher specifically requests it:

  • Running head
  • Abstract
  • Author note

Page Order

For complete information on the order of pages, see the APA Style website.

Number your pages consecutively starting with page 1. Each section begins on a new page. Put the pages in the following order:

  • Page 1: Title page
  • Page 2: Abstract (if your teacher requires an abstract)
  • Page 3: Text 
  • References begin on a new page after the last page of text
  • Footnotes begin on a new page after the references (if your teacher requires footnotes)
  • Tables begin each on a new page after the footnotes (if your teacher requires tables) 
  • Figures begin on a new page after the tables (if your teacher requires figures)
  • Appendices begin on a new page after the tables and/or figures (if your teacher requires appendices)

Sample Papers With Built-In Instructions

Reference List Format (9.43)

Placement: The reference list  appears at the end of the paper, on its own page(s). If your research paper ends on page 8, your References begin on page 9.

Heading: Place the section label References in bold at the top of the page, centered.

Arrangement: Alphabetize entries by author's last name. If source has no named author, alphabetize by the title, ignoring A, An, or The. (9.44-9.48)

Spacing: Like the rest of the APA paper, the reference list is double-spaced throughout. Be sure NOT to add extra spaces between citations.

Indentation: To make citations easier to scan, add a hanging indent of 0.5 in. to any citation that runs more than one line. Use the paragraph-formatting function of your word processing program to create your hanging indent.

Elements of Reference List Entries: (Chapter 9)

Where to find reference information for a journal article

References generally have four elements, each of which has a corresponding question for you to answer:

  • Author: Who is responsible for this work? (9.7-9.12)
  • Date: When was this work published? (9.13-9.17)
  • Title: What is this work called? (9.18-9.22)
  • Source: Where can I retrieve this work? (9.23-9.37)

By using these four elements and answering these four questions, you should be able to create a citation for any type of source.

For complete information on all of these elements, checkout the APA Style website.

This infographic shows the first page of a journal article. The locations of the reference elements are highlighted with different colors and callouts, and the same colors are used in the reference list entry to show how the entry corresponds to the source.

To create your references, you'll simple look for these elements in your source and put them together in your reference list entry.

 

American Psychological Association. Example of where to find reference information for a journal article [Infographic]. APA Style Center. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references/basic-principles

Reference Examples (Chapter 10)

The APA Style website provides many reference examples. You can print the handout and/or use the links to reference examples below:



You can view the entire Reference Examples Website below:


Missing Reference Information

Sometimes you won't be able to find all the elements required for your reference. In that case, see the  instructions in Table 9.1 of the APA style manual in section 9.4 or the APA Style website below:

DOIs and URLs (9.34-9.36)

The DOI or URL is the final component of a reference list entry. Because so much scholarship is available and/or retrieved online, most reference list entries end with either a DOI or a URL.

  • DOI is a unique alphanumeric string that identifies content and provides a persistent link to its location on the internet. DOIs can be found in database records and the reference lists of published works.
  • URL specifies the location of digital information on the internet and can be found in the address bar of your internet browser. URLs in references should link directly to the cited work when possible.

When to Include DOIs and URLs:

  • Include a DOI for all works that have a DOI, regardless of whether you used the online version or the print version.
  • If an online work has both a DOI and a URL, include only the DOI.
  • If an online work has a URL but no DOI, include the URL in the reference as follows:
    • For works without DOIs from websites (not including academic research databases), provide a URL in the reference (as long as the URL will work for readers).
    • For works without DOIs from most academic research databases, do not include a URL or database information in the reference because these works are widely available. The reference should be the same as the reference for a print version of the work.
    • For works from databases that publish original, proprietary material available only in that database (such as the UpToDate database) or for works of limited circulation in databases (such as monographs in the ERIC database), include the name of the database or archive and the URL of the work. If the URL requires a login or is session-specific (meaning it will not resolve for readers), provide the URL of the database or archive home page or login page instead of the URL for the work. (See APA Section 9.30 for more information). 
  • If the URL is no longer working or no longer provides readers access to the content you intend to cite, try to find an archived version using the Internet Archive, then use the archived URL. If there is no archived URL, do not use that resource.

Format of DOIs and URLs:

Your DOI should look like this: 

https://doi.org/10.1037/a0040251

Follow these guidelines from the APA Style website.

In-Text Citations

The Rules

APA Style uses the author–date citation system, in which a brief in-text citation points your reader to the full reference list entry at the end of your paper. The in-text citation appears within the body of the paper and briefly identifies the cited work by its author and date of publication. This method enables your reader to locate the corresponding entry in the alphabetical reference list at the end of your paper.


Exceptions

Each work you cite must appear in the reference list, and each work in the reference list must be cited in the text (or in a table, figure, footnote, or appendix) except for the following (See APA, 8.4):

  • Personal communications (8.9)
  • General mentions of entire websites, whole periodicals (8.22), and common software and apps (10.10) in the text do not require a citation or reference list entry.
  • The source of an epigraph does not usually appear in the reference list (8.35)
  • Quotations from your research participants do not need citations or reference list entries (8.36)
  • References included in a statistical meta-analysis, which are marked with an asterisk in the reference list, may be cited in the text (or not) at the author’s discretion. This exception is relevant only to authors who are conducting a meta-analysis (9.52).

Formatting Your In-Text Citations

Parenthetical and Narrative Citations: (See APA Section 8.11)

In APA style you use the author-date citation system for citing references within your paper. You incorporate these references using either a parenthetical or a narrative style.

Parenthetical Citations

  • In parenthetical citations, the author name and publication date appear in parentheses, separated by a comma. (Jones, 2018)
  • A parenthetical citation can appear within or at the end of a sentence.
  • When the parenthetical citation is at the end of the sentence, put the period or other end punctuation after the closing parenthesis.
  • If there is no author, use the first few words of the reference list entry, usually the "Title" of the source: ("Autism," 2008) See APA 8.14
  • When quoting, always provide the author, year, and specific page citation or paragraph number for nonpaginated materials in the text (Santa Barbara, 2010, p. 243). See APA 8.13
  • For most citations, the parenthetical reference is placed BEFORE the punctuation: Magnesium can be effective in treating PMS (Haggerty, 2012).

Narrative Citations 

In narrative citations, the author name or title of your source appears within your text and the publication date appears in parentheses immediately after the author name. 

  • Santa Barbara (2010) noted a decline in the approval of disciplinary spanking of 26 percentage points from 1968 to 1994.

In-Text Citation Checklist

NoodleTools

Use NoodleTools to Cite Your Sources NoodleTools

NoodleTools can help you create your references and your in-text citations.


NoodleTools Help