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BIO 104: A Piece of Your Mind

Class resource guide for the Spring 2023 section of BIO 104: A Piece of Your Mind


Welcome to the class research guide for BIO 104: A Piece of Your Mind with Dr. Morrison. This guide will provide recommended research resources including source evaluation, library materials, and citation examples.

A Few Definitions

The following definitions are important concepts to understand as you locate sources and work on your annotated bibliography: 

  • Scholarly Journal Articles: these sources are written by experts in their field to communicate research and findings with other scholars and students studying that subject. Scholarly journal articles often use more technical and/or subject specific language, so it is good practice to first build an understanding of your topic through reference resources and review articles. 
  • Peer-Review: also known as refereed, this is the process of submitting an article for publication through an external review of other subject experts that evaluates the quality of scholarship and validity of the methodology and procedures. 
  • Medical Subject Headings: commonly referred to as MeSH terms, this is a controlled vocabulary system that helps researchers, authors, and readers talk about a topic or term using the same language. You will find MeSH terms in the MEDLINE and PubMed databases, and they are a great place to locate additional keywords when building a search. 

Source Evaluation

It is important to be mindful when finding and using sources that they are reliable and appropriate for our current research. To evaluate a source, one technique you can use are the four moves of SIFT:


  • Take a moment to pause and ask yourself what you already know about the source. Are you familiar with the claims it is making?

Investigate the Source

  • Gather information about the source – the publisher, author, reputation of the publication, etc. Are there any potential conflicts of interest or biases? What are other sources saying about the author or publisher?

Find Trusted Coverage

  • Gather information about the claim or argument present in the source. What are other sources saying about the claim? What is the general consensus of the information?

Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media to Original Context

  • Gather information about where a claim, quote, or piece of media originally came from. How does this change your understanding of the information and/or resource?