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Biology: BIO 400 C (Epigenetics)

Best Bets

These databases are what I recommend you use to find supporting articles for your papers. If you'd like a refresher on how to search them, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Information Continuum

Keep this information continuum in mind as you're hunting for and evaluating resources. For your papers, you'll be wanting to stay toward the right side, with peer-reviewed, scholarly sources.

continuum of scholarly and popular resources

Retrieved from:

Primary vs Secondary Research

You will need to find and cite at least 10 primary research articles for your paper. Don't forget how to distinguish them from secondary research (and other types of articles).

Primary Research Secondary Research
Typically follows IMRAD format (Introduction, Materials & Methods, Results, and Discussion) Typically has an introduction; other section headings will vary
Reports on original research or data Summarizes, analyzes, and/or synthesizes original research, but does not report on any new findings


The examples below from the Biology Department at Davidson College offer some guidance about the proper way to paraphrase. 

Original Text

“Few laboratory creatures have had such a spectacularly successful and productive history as Drosophila. It first entered laboratories about 1900, revealed its talent for experimental genetics to Thomas Hunt Morgan and his students at Columbia University in the early 1910s, and after some ups and downs in status is still going strong almost a century later."

-- from Kohler, R.E. 1994. The Lords of the Fly. The University of Chicago Press, 321 pages

Example 1

Bad paraphrasing. The phrasing in this one is copied almost exactly from the original.

Despite some ups and downs in status, nearly a century after the fly revealed its talent to Thomas Hunt Morgan and his students, Drosophila genetics research continues its spectacularly successful history (Kohler, 1994).

Example 2

Bad paraphrasing. The sentence and paragraph structure is far too similar to the original.

No model organism has been so amazingly useful and effective as the fruit fly. The fly came on the scene as an experimental tool at the beginning of the 20th century, was adopted by Thomas Hunt Morgan and his Columbia pupils at Columbia University around 1910, and (despite some fluctuations in attention paid to it) is still a widely used experimental system (Kohler 1994).

Example 3

Bad paraphrasing. The sentence structure is better, but the overall structure of the paragraph is still to similar to the original.

Drosophila is model organism with a rich and useful legacy. Upon arriving on the scene at the turn of the century, the fruit fly soon became the organism of choice for Thomas Hunt Morgan and his Columbia University pupils. Despite fluctuations in status, fly research is still central to the progress of genetics (Kohler, 1994).

Example 4

Good paraphrasing. It captures the main idea of the original paragraph and doesn't borrow the structure or phrasing.

Thomas Hunt Morgan and colleagues at Columbia University were among the first to use the fruit fly Drosophila as a model organism, adopting it as an experimental system around 1910. Since then, the popularity of the fly has waxed and waned somewhat, but the breadth and depth of current research indicates that Drosophila continues its legacy as an incredibly important research tool (Kohler, 1994).

Citation Managers

The links below will give you more information about a few free citation managers. Dr. Kiss and I highly recommend you use one for this class!

Need a refresher on how to search?

This series of short videos will show you a few useful techniques you can use to improve your literature searches.


Need help?

Ginny Boehme's picture
Ginny Boehme

My appointment scheduler is open for you to meet with me virtually. The default platform I use is Zoom, but if you prefer Google Meet or WebEx, that's not a problem at all.

202 King Library