Biology: Lab Reports
Reading (and Writing) Journal Articles
Journal articles are written in a specialized style. When you understand the structure, you'll be able to quickly skim articles to determine which are worth your time to read. There are a couple of good, short tutorials about journal articles.
Journal articles are generally organized in the IMRaD format: introduction, methods and materials, results, and discussion. The following resources will help you get the most out of your journal reading and paper writing time.
- Science Buddies: How to Read a Scientific PaperBasic, but thorough, introduction to scientific papers.
- Research ConversationsThe University of Central Florida Libraries clearly illustrate the connection between journal articles and scholarly conversations. They explain peer review in this video.
- Writing Scientific Reports handoutfrom the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This handout is incredibly detailed and specific.
Research for Lab Papers
Sometimes the best sources for a lab-related paper aren't the most obvious. The Databases for Research listed in the Get Started tab will certainly help, but you may need classic articles from older journal issues to explain your results, or you may need to look in unexpected places to find the most relevant current information.
- JSTOR This link opens in a new windowJSTOR includes journals from the 18th century to 3-5 years ago. This is the place to look for classic experiments performed decades ago.
- Culinary Arts (Gale OneFile) This link opens in a new windowMany of the enzymatic reactions studied in biology classes are important in food processing, and this database is where you'll find journals like Food Chemistry and Journal of Food Biochemistry.
CSE (Council of Science Editors) citation style
- MyBib citation makerFree citation maker -- you'll need to set the style to Council of Science Editors, Name-Year. Fill out the form and this site will create citations.
- Citation BuilderNorth Carolina State University provides a citation builder for CSE name-year citations. Just select your source type and CSE/CBE, fill out the form!
- CSE Quick GuideSample references and in-text citations from the Council of Science Editors -- make sure you're using the Name-Year tab.
- Guide to CSE Name-Year citation styleThe University of Wisconsin-Madison's Writing Center provides a clear, simple guide to CSE style.
- CSE Documentation -- Name-Year MethodAnother guide from Austin Community College that includes an example of a completed CSE bibliography at the end.