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BIOL 2401 / 2402 TR: Find Articles

Databases to Try

Help - Types of Sources

How do I know if a resource is scholarly (academic)?

Scholarly Sources:

  • are often written by professors, researchers, and experts in the field with advanced degrees
  • are written for other scholars, professionals, and students
  • have a list of references 
  • use technical language of the field
  • often provide research findings, statistics, and literature reviews

What about popular sources?

Popular Sources:

  • are for the general population
  • avoid technical terminology and use easy-to-understand language
  • usually do not have bibliographies or references
  • often written by staff writers with little specialized knowledge
  • are written for entertainment and general knowledge


Source: Cornell University 

What about primary sources?

Primary sources:

  • provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation without evaluation or interpretation.  
  • contain the information from which a secondary or tertiary source is derived and written by someone directly involved in the historical event or primary research. 
  • include original documents such as diaries, speeches, letters, audio transcripts, emails, autobiographies, and interviews.
  • include creative works such as photographs, novels, poetry, music, and artworks. 

What about Science?  

In the sciences, a primary source is the published result of experimental or observational research.

Source: University of Maryland Libraries

Examples of Scholarly Journals

Scholarly periodicals often contain keywords in their titles that help identify them (such as journal, review, applied, and archives).  Examples include:

  • International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
  • Annals of Internal Medicine
  • Archives of Environmental Health
  • Nutrition Reviews
  • JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
  • Journal of Theoretical Biology 

What is a Database?

Magazine and journal articles are found using an online tool called a database.  Basically, a database acts like an online file cabinet containing many different resources that relate to each other by their subject or topic.

Search the databases to find articles from both scholarly and popular sources.

Remember:  When off campus, you must login with your Web Advisor username and password to access a database through TCC libraries.

Improve your search by thinking of various keywords that relate to the subject and combine them in an advanced search. Putting a phrase in quotation marks will make your search more specific.


  • diabetes AND "Alzheimer's Disease"
  • bruising AND "Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura"
  • blood pressure AND "cardiovascular disease"