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BIOL 203 Introduction to Ecology (Fall 2017 - Sharon Mansiere)

Primary Literature

Primary literature in the field of science refers to journal articles written and reviewed by experts that are published and indexed by research databases.  The article report on actual research project and undergo a formal review process called peer review, jury, or referee. The peer reviewed journal article must be written in a required format and include the following: abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, acknowledgements, references.

There are two other forms of scientific literature

Secondary Literature: It is generally written as prose, provides a summary of scientific research, is written for the non-specialist, and may be published in a book, magazine or journal.  Secondary literature can provide an overview of all the research conducted in an area; articles that do this are called review articles. 

Grey Literature: It includes papers, reports, technical notes or other documents produced and published by governmental agencies, academic institutions and other groups that are not distributed or indexed by commercial publishers.  it is the initial reporting of research findings subjected to internal review before publication.  It can be difficult to locate because it may not be indexed and is not widely distributed.  Often research will be published in grey literature before it is published in the primary literature.

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