Biology 124 – Paddack



The increase in hominin cranial capacity over time, from Encyclpaedia Britannica.

About this Guide

This guide provides students with recommendations for finding and evaluating information on topics related to evolutionary biology. Use the tabs above to navigate through the pages of the guide.

Your Assignment

A group presentation and annotated bibliography using at least four sources, including at least one source from a scholarly peer reviewed journal.

Paper Writing Assistance

Consult these campus resources for help with writing and editing:
About SBCC’s Writing Center
The SBCC Learning Resource Center Writing Tools Online

Need More Help?

Have a question? Stop by the Reference Desk, or contact a librarian by phone, email, or chat for more help.Contact Us

Library Tutorials

Interested in learning more about the library on your own? Explore the library’s online tutorials.

Reference Sources

Reference sources are a great place to find scientific terms, definitions, and background information on your topic.

Online Reference Sources
When accessing this database from off campus, you’ll be prompted for your pipeline username and password.

  • Credo Reference Contains the full text of over 600 encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books covering all major subject areas.

Print Reference Sources
These books are available in the Luria Library Reference section. Ask a librarian for additional help finding reference books on your topic.

  • Encyclopedia of Evolution — R 576.8 P133e
  • Evolution: The Story of Life — R 576.8 P173e 2009


Search the library catalog (books+) for books on your topic. The library’s collection includes both print books and online ebooks. Your search results will include articles as well. Limit to books by choosing the appropriate box from the menu to the left of the results.


Articles from periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) often provide the most current information on a topic. Some periodical articles are more scholarly than others. To find periodical articles on your topic, search through the library’s databases or some of the freely available resources listed below.

Magazine vs. Journal Articles
Before you search, you need to know the difference between “magazine” and “journal” articles. Journals can also be referred to as “scholarly” sources, and some are “peer reviewed.” A brief explanation can be found here:

Library Databases
The following subscription databases will require you to log in with your Pipeline information from off campus:

  • Academic Search Complete A great starting point for research on any topic. This database provides full text for more than 8,500 periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals), including full text for nearly 7,300 peer-reviewed titles, in all subject areas. The database includes PDF content going back as far as 1887. Searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,400 journals.
  • Science Full Text Select Provides full text for more than 400 journals in fields such as agriculture & agricultural research, biochemistry, biology, biotechnology, botany, environmental science, marine biology, microbiology, and much more.

Freely Available Resources
Online scientific journals and articles can also be found through these non-subscription resources:

Interlibrary Loan

If you find a citation for an article we do not have full-text, you can request the article through Interlibrary loan. Students are advised to request loans early in the research process as loans can take three to ten days.

Evaluating Websites

Figuring out whether the information you find online is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Questions to help you determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: How and why the source was created. Is it intended to educate, inform, persuade, sell, or entertain? Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors state this purpose, or try to disguise it? Why was this information published in this particular type of source (book, article, website, blog, etc.)? Is the source designed for the general public, students, or experts?
  • Relevance: The value of the source for your needs. Does the type of source meet your assignment’s requirements? Does the information answer your question, support your argument, or add something to your knowledge of the topic? Is it too general or too specific? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information. Do the authors present the information thoroughly and professionally? Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong, emotional, manipulative, or offensive language? Do they leave out, or make fun of, important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information. Do the authors support the information they present with strong factual evidence? Do they cite or provide links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic? Can you verify the information in other credible sources? Does the source contradict itself, include false statements, or misrepresent other sources?
  • Expertise: The authority of the creators of the source. What makes the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the source authorities on the topic? Do they have related education, experience, or other expertise? Do they provide an important alternative perspective? Has the source been reviewed in some way, such as by an editor or through peer review?
  • Newness: The age of the information. Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as science, technology, or current events), or could information found in older sources still be useful? When was the information presented in the source first published or posted? Are newer sources available that would add important information to your understanding of the topic?

For more help locating reliable information online, see the Finding Credible Web Sources research guide.

Recommended Websites

The following magazine websites include online articles, blog posts, and other reliable information related to biology:

Web Directories

The web directories below allow you to search for information from lists of reliable websites:

  • Offers access to “200 million pages of authoritative U.S. government science information including research and development results.”
  • World Wide Science “A global science gateway comprised of national and international scientific databases and portals.”

Citation Guidelines

Use either APA or MLA style for your citations. The Purdue OWL provides guidelines for both styles, as well as useful guidelines for annotated bibliograpies and examples of annotations.

APA Guidelines

MLA Guidelines