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Biology Research Guide

Use this guide to find UNO library resources and other helpful research tools.

Biology Best Bets

How to search PubMed

How do I know if it's "scholarly"?

Often, an assignment will require the use of "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" sources. Most databases provide a function enabling to select only scholarly (or peer reviewed) journals. Look for the following characteristics:


  • Communicate the results of research in the field of study covered by the journal.
  • Reflect a systematic and thorough study of a single topic, often involving experiments or surveys.
  • Occasionally publish review articles that summarize the current state of knowledge on a topic.


  • Lack the slick advertising, classified ads, coupons, etc..
  • Articles are often printed one column to a page, as in books.
  • Often graphs, tables, or charts referring to specific points in the articles.


  • Written by the person(s) who did the research being reported. 
  • The first author listed is often the primary researcher who coordinated or supervised the work done by the other authors.
  • Most highly‑regarded scholarly journals are typically those sponsored by professional associations, such as the American Psychological Association or the American Chemical Society.


  • Articles are evaluated by an editorial board and other experts (peer review) before they are accepted for publication.
  • Ensure that the articles published are based on solid research that meets the normal standards of the field of study covered by the journal.
  • Professors sometimes refer to peer-reviewed journals as refereed journals.


  • Contain an advanced vocabulary, since the authors use the technical language or jargon of their field of study.
  • Authors assume that the reader already possesses a basic understanding of the field of study.


  • Always indicate the sources of their information.
  • References are usually listed at the end of an article, but they may appear in the form of footnotes, endnotes, or a bibliography.

Annual Reviews

Founded in 1932, Annual Reviews provides researchers, professors, and scientific professionals with a definitive academic resource in 40 scientific disciplines. Annual Reviews saves you time by synthesizing the vast amount of primary research literature and identifying the principal contributions in your field. Editorial committees comprised of the most distinguished scholars in the discipline select all topics for review, and the articles are written by authors who are recognized experts in the field.

The following list includes the titles that UNO has access to in full-text.