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BIOL 2420 Ertle SE : Starting Your Search

This customized BIOL 2420 guide is for students in classes taught by Laurie Ertle at TCC SE. It is tailored to your class assignment.


This guide will help you search for information about pathogenic microorganisms for your BIOL 2420 research assignment. It also lists general study resources related to concepts covered in your class. If you need help using the guide or have any questions, contact the library via chat, phone, or e-mail. When in doubt, Ask a Librarian!


Evaluate Potential Resources with the CAARP Test

The most important step of medical research is evaluating your potential resources for quality. Low-quality information can lead to making poor health decisions, so choose your resources wisely. The CAARP test will guide you in evaluating the books, journal articles, and websites you come across in your research.


Run all of your potential sources through the CAARP test by evaluating each resource by these 5 criteria:

Currency: Recent information is informed by the full range of research on your topic. If two resources are similar, choose the newer one. A good rule of thumb is to try to find medical information less than 5 years old.

Authority: If the author is not an expert (advanced degree and/or works in that field), the source is less credible. Google the author to try to find their credentials and work background. Articles written by experts on that topic are more credible than articles written by authors without training or work experience in that field. 

Accuracy: Is someone other than the author evaluating the information before publication? When your professors ask you to find a peer-reviewed resource, they want you to use an article from an academic journal. These articles are written by experts and evaluated by other experts before they are published. Peer-reviewed articles are easily found using the filters in library databases.

Relevance: You want sources that are the best fit for your topic and are written at the right level for what you need. Give preference to articles that focus on your topic rather than just mention it.

Purpose: Be careful about biased sources. You are looking for sources that inform rather than persuade or sell. An easy way to find more neutral sources is to use the library databases. 

Make sure you download the handout linked above so you can apply the CAARP test while you are researching. Your job as a researcher is to find the best sources you can. If you are having trouble, please Ask a Librarian!

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