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BIO 101/102/106 Lab Assignment Playbook

Library resources for biology

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Bean Beetles: Annotated Bibliography

For this assignment you have to write an annotated bibliography that consists of five peer-reviewed primary sources that are cited in APA format.  You will be using sources from this list in your lab report's introduction and discussion sections.

What do these words mean?

Annotated bibliography --  a list of citations to the sources you used or will use for your essay or research paper. Each citation is followed by a short paragraph (the annotation), that describes and evaluates the source using about 150 words. The purpose of the annotation is to inform your readers of the quality, relevance, authority, and accuracy of the sources you have picked.  Check this guide for more information about annotated bibliographies.

Primary source -- a report of a study or experiment, written by the person(s) who conducted it. To determine whether your report/study is considered primary, look for a section titled Materials & Methods. If it has this section, then the report/study is a primary source.

Peer review -- This means that a panel of three experts in the field reviewed the article before it got published to the journal.  Peer reviewed articles are considered of higher quality than non-peer-reviewed ones. Articles coming from journals that have the word "Journal" in the title are usually peer reviewed. When in doubt, ask your instructor, a librarian, or consult the Ulrich's periodicals directory (see this tutorial on how to do it).  

APA citation format -- For this assignment, you have to cite your sources using the APA style.  Here is how to do it

Note: The annotated bibliography is one of the sections of your final lab report. To see how to write the entire report, go to How Do I Write a Biology Lab Report?

How to do the Assignment

For this assignment, you are asked to have five primary, peer reviewed sources. You must use APA style for the citations.

How to conduct your research:

  • Read the assignment carefully to make sure you understand it all.
  • Before you start looking for sources,  identify terms you will use for searching, such as bean beetle, oviposition, oviposit, ovipositor, eggs, egg laying, hatching, egg hatching, agricultural pest, etc.
  • Think of synonyms and related words or expressions too.
  • Use scientific terms to help narrow down sources: for example, for this assignment, you can use the beetle's scientific name, Callosobruchus maculatus.  You can also use just Callosobruchus to find information about the whole genus and not just the maculatus species.
  • Combine terms by putting AND in between them. For example: Callosobruchus AND oviposition
  • The sources you need to find should cover information about the beetles themselves and their behavior; you should not look for sources that describe the experiment you have conducted or will conduct.  The sources will be used to provide information for the introduction and/or the discussion sections of the lab report for the experiment. For an example of how researchers use sources in a lab report, see this  article from 1975.


Do you need to read some background information on Callosobruchus maculatusHere is some background information about the bean beetles,  provided by Lawrence S. Blumer(biology faculty, Morehouse College) and Christopher W. Beck (biology faculty, Emory University).

Sources for Your Assignment

Use your terms in these resources.  Once you have your sources, visit the library's annotated bibliography guide to learn how to create your bibliography. To format your citations, please see the library's APA Citation Style guide.  If an article you would like to have is not available through the library's databases, you may request it by filling out the Interlibrary Loan Request form.

Read a Scientific Article in Three Steps!

Scientific studies can be hard to read, but you can make the reading a bit easier by following this method:

  • Read the introduction.  This section is where the researchers explain why they did the study and what they expected to find.
  • Read the conclusion or discussion. This section is where the researchers explain the results of the study, and what they found.
  • Read or scan the middle of the article. This can be the hardest section, as it has the highest concentration of scientific words and complex ideas and concepts. Reading the introduction and the conclusion gives you a good idea of what the experiment is about and makes reading this section a lot easier.

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