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Biology - Research Basics

This guide is an outline of recommended resources and a research companion helping you to identify and successfully utilize biological research.



Welcome to the research guide for biology. The goal of this guide is to walk you through selecting a topic, finding resources, evaluation, and citing them appropriately. It is intended to support you while working through a research project.

Selecting a Topic

When assigned a research project, the first thing to do is to determine a topic for your assignment and start looking for background information. Finding background information can help: 

  • Familiarize yourself with the topic
  • Identify key terminology
  • Determine scope of project

What can be a tricky concept to handle is that once you've selected a topic, it is not set in stone. Think of your topic as a developing idea. The topic can and should be further revised based on your research. Research is a non-linear process and you will be well served if your choice of research topics can be further refined by the literature.

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Hannah Chapman Tripp
Life Sciences Library
MAI 224

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Expecting a different guide?

Over the course of Fall 2019, the need for a basic research guide became apparent. This guide attempts to meet that need. The other biology guide is still available and can be accessed from the link below: 


If you have feedback about this change or there are aspects of the older guide which you find relevant for your work, please do get in touch!

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Generic License.