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BIOL 332: Nutrition (Forristal): Getting Started

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Writing in Biology

Annotated Bibliography and Science References Assignments

Your goal for your annotated bibliography assignment is to find and read at least 10 articles directly relevant to your topic. That means you must find and skim the titles/abstracts of many more than 10.  This assignment will be submitted in two sections.  

Your 10 sources must include: Three sources written for non-scientists that have valid information, three review articles written for scientists, and three primary source articles in peer reviewed journals.

Annotated Bibliography (due February 23):

For each of the minimum of 10 articles, you need to record and submit:

  1. Bibliographic information.  In this class we will use the Name-Year (APA) system for formatting.  See Knisely for more details.
  2. How you originally identified this article. You may have identified the article by a recommendation from a professor or fellow class member, or alternatively, it could have been cited by another article. In these cases, identify the sources.  If it was a database search, describe the search you did, giving keyword(s), etc.  You may refer to a particular search in the Science References assignment if you wish; in this case only the number of the search is required. 
  3. How you got the full text of the article.  This could be through Google scholar, through the University of Redlands library subscriptions, from Loma Linda’s library subscriptions, interlibrary loan, etc.
  4. What piece of information in this article is critical for your reader to understand your topic?  For all but 3 of the primary sources, this can be brief, but should be more than a topic.  For example, don’t just write “probiotics,” but instead write “use of probiotics to treat C. difficile infection.”  For three primary source papers, write the answers to the four questions (the question, approach, most important figure, answer.) as you have done for the ‘Paper’ exercises in class.  Include a pdf of the papers or the url to the full text.  (Submit these electronically also; see me if you need to scan a hard copy.)
  5. Lastly, you should write a statement at the end of your annotated bibliography listing any topics for which you still need to find articles.  For example, perhaps you have a thorough number of articles about most of your topic, but in writing the outline of your paper, you realize you have a hole. List any areas where you realize you still have holes to fill in your literature search. 


Science References (due February 9):

This assignment is designed to help you find the sources for your paper.  You need to record and submit (electronically):

  1. Using whatever procedure you wish, find 3 sources (either print or online) of questionable validity that illustrate that there is a controversy about your topic. These may be used in your final paper for illustration, but they may not be included in the 10 articles required in your annotated bibliography.  For each of them, give the citation (including the URL if appropriate), describe the information they cover and describe why you think they are of questionable validity.  Be very brief.
  2. Use Google or another common search engine to search for 3 sources that appear to contain scientifically valid information about your topic.  For each of them, give the citation, describe the information they cover and describe why you think the information is reliable.  Be very brief.  This type of source should certainly be included in your paper meant for non-scientists but you can only use 3 of them in your annotated bibliography list.
  3.  In the remainder of this assignment, you are to search the databases for review articles and primary sources found in peer-reviewed journals. You need to perform at least two searches on each of at least four databases.  For each one, give the keyword(s) used (and MeSH headings and/or qualifiers, etc.) in the database search, and state how many total search results came up in that search.  Rate the search as highly successful, moderately successful, or poorly successful based on the number of promising sources you obtain from the search. Perform 2 searches each in the following search databases:
  1. Google Scholar
  2. Medline
  3. Cochrane Library
  4. A database of your choice

  1. Identify 3 review articles. For each of them, give the citation as you would write it in your reference section and describe the information they cover.  Be very brief. 
  2. Identify 3 primary source articles.  For each of them, give the citation as you would write it in your reference section and describe the information they cover.  Be very brief. 

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