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Primary Sources for Science: BIOL2030 Research Article Summary

Learn about what are considered primary sources, how to find them at GSU, how to use them, and how to cite them.


The ability to effectively and efficiently read and summarize research papers is a crucial skill for STEM professionals. There are some lucrative career options that depend significantly on these skills such as science or medical writing, quality science, policy making, and of course, research-related professions. And there are some career choices that may not require you read papers day to day. Either way, being able to pick up any communication and concisely summarize the main points is highly likely to be a skill you will need. It is something you should practice regularly even if not required of you so you can keep up with the most recent developments in your area of focus. 

Your assignment is to select a recent (within the past 5 years) primary research article from a peer-reviewed publication on any topic.


  • A research article that is a primary source usually has the following sections:
    • Abstract
    • Introduction
    • Materials and Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Conclusion
    • it may not have all the sections and it may not be in this order, but it will ALWAYS have a section describing the methodology
  • A research article assumes the reader knows the jargon and technical terms of the discipline
  • A research article will review the literature and research published on the topic in its introduction, but a literature review is NOT a primary source
  • A research article will usually be published in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal
  • A research article will list the authors and their affiliations, the authors should be affiliated with academic or research institutions
  • Make a search strategy: come up with a list of keywords and phrases BEFORE you start searching

Where to start:

Go straight to a Library database:

Use a reliable website:

Use the Library Discover Search:

Library Discover search


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Laura Carscaddon
Library South 542 (Subject Librarian suite)

APA Resources

Cite the article:

The citation style most commonly used for Biology is APA. A citation of your primary source research article should list: 

  • The author(s) name(s) listed by last name first then the initial of the firstname
  • The year the article was published in parentheses
  • The title of the article 
  • The title of the journal in italics
  • The volume of the journal in italics
  • The Issue number of journal in parentheses
  • The page range of the article.
  • The DOI


Deppisch, P., Prutscher, J. M., Pegoraro, M., Tauber, E., Wegener, C., & Helfrich-Förster, C. (2022). Adaptation of Drosophila melanogaster to long photoperiods of high-latitude summers is facilitated by the ls-timeless allele. Journal of Biological Rhythms37(2), 185–201.