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Ekstrom Library

BIO 203: Scientific Literacy and Communication: Library Session

Today's Lesson

1.  Identify characteristics of a scholarly journal article.

2.  What is a primary source?

3.  What are some limitations of using Google?

4.  Where can I find primary sources?

What are characteristics of a scholarly journal article?

Scholarly Articles


Which of the following is a Scholarly Article?


Scholarly Article Checklist:

1. Intent: Report on original research in a specific field

2. Audience: Scholars and researchers

3. Authors: Scholars and researchers

4. References: Cite sources with footnotes/bibliographies

5. Layout: Plain paper, tables, figures, charts

6. Advertising: Fewer ads, usually for other journals, if any

Parts of a Scientific Paper

Abstract – Provides a summary of the article

Introduction – Includes background information and a description of the author’s purpose

Materials and Methods – Details about how the study was performed with enough detail so that other scientists could repeat the study

Note: Review articles often do not have a materials and methods section and graphs, tables, or figures containing actual data will include citations in the figure legend to the primary research papers that originally reported the findings

Results – Includes new observations, data and findings, and figures

Discussion – A description of what the findings mean and their implications

References - A list of resources containing information used by the author

Primary and Secondary Sources


Primary Sources

  • Written by the scientists who performed the experiments
  • These articles include original research data and a methods section explaining how experiments were done  

Secondary Sources

  • Summarize or compare lots of research in a particular area (e.g., a review)
  • Analyze or interprets the results of primary research


Which of the following is a Primary Source?

Google vs UofL Databases

Google and the University Libraries contain different information types. Google contains a wide variety of source types including some scholarly and professional sources as well as websites, blogs, social media, and more. The University Libraries are focused on academic & professional sources like books, scholarly journal articles, newspapers, & archival materials.Google and the University Libraries have different review processes. Google has no formalized review process. Sources available through the University Libraries are reviewed by subject area experts.Google and the University Libraries have different costs for you. Google is free to search, but scholarly information is often locked behind a paywall. The University Libraries make scholarly information free to you as a student who pays tuition to UofL.Google and the University Libraries have different search functionalities. Google gives you a huge number of results but has few options to narrow or refine your search. The University Libraries has tools for narrowing and refining your search so you can find what you need.

Discover. Create. Succeed.