Skip to Main Content

Biological Sciences

Find background information

Use the resources on this page to get to know a new research area or choose a topic for a paper. These are not necessarily sources you can cite in a paper, but they will help you understand the basics and come up with keywords to use when you search for sources later.

Open web searches (Google, Wikipedia, etc.)

Feel free to begin your research on Google, as long as it doesn't end there. Use this time to try out different keywords for your topic.

Review articles

Many databases, including Scopus, ScienceDirect, and PubMed, allow you to filter results to see only review articles. These kinds of articles give a broad overview of scholarship in a topic and are a good place to start your research. The databases section has more on these resources.


Try one of these specialized encyclopedias for expert-written articles on your topic, including citations to important sources.

Topic Encyclopedia
General biology Principles of Biology (2017)
Animals Principles of Zoology (2019)
Biochemistry Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry (2021)
Cellular biology Encyclopedia of Cell Biology (2023)
Ecology Encyclopedia of Ecology (2019)
Ecosystems Encyclopedia of the World's Biomes (2020)
Evolution Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Biology (2016)
Genetics Brenner's Encyclopedia of Genetics (2013)
Human anatomy Netter Atlas of Human Anatomy (2022)
Immunology Encyclopedia of Immunobiology (2019)
Microbiology Encyclopedia of Microbiology (2019)
Plants Principles of Botany (2020)
Virology Encyclopedia of Virology (2021)


Books are a great place to start your research because they take the time to explain things you may not understand (unlike journal articles). You don't have to read the whole book! Search for books using Library Search:


Profile Photo
Micaela Carignano
1050 Waldo Library