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BIOL 1210 - Team Bibliography Assignment Guide

About the assignment

The BIOL 1210 Team Bibliography assignment is the first part of the larger "Salmon in the Tree" assignment. The Team Bibliography assignment isn't overly difficult, but it will take some time, and it does incorporate definitions, skills, and specific tasks you will need to complete.

Important: To help you prepare for the Team Bibliography assignment, there will be a "live" Librarian session with your class during the first week of February 2021 (your instructor will give the exact date and time). **Please note: There is also the "Library Lab Exercise" (see tab in left column) which you are required to complete in preparation for the Librarian session.

The Team Bibliography assignment will be easier to complete if your group follows these steps:

  1. Read pages 1-8 of the Salmon in the Tree assignment given by your instructor, it contains a lot of important information you need to know in order to complete the Team Bibliography portion.
  2. Consult the flowchart (see below) and keep it handy: you may want to refer to it often.
  3. Brainstorm for a list of words and phrases you might use to research your group's topic.
  4. With your search terms try your hand at finding a non-academic source; This will help you better understand the topic, and might lead you to additional search terms (see the section "Find a non-academic source" below).
  5. Next, find a non-peer reviewed academic source (see the section "Find a non-peer reviewed academic source" below).
  6. Then, find some peer reviewed academic sources (see the section "Find a peer-reviewed academic source" below).
  7. However your group decides to delegate the work, be sure to end up with a total of ten different sources for your team bibliography. Remember that your information sources must include at least one of each of the following and no more than three non-academic sources:
    • a non-academic source
    • an academic but not peer reviewed source
    • an academic peer reviewed source
  8. Remember to provide EVIDENCE for why you have determined a source as one of the three categories above. Evidence can be in the form of a screenshot or clear photo of elements such as citations, bibliographies, dates, etc. (Here are some screenshot instructions for PC and Mac). You will need to paste screenshots or other image files into your Team Bibliography document, which needs to be submitted as a PDF.
  9. Create a bibliography of the 10 sources using CSE citation style. Make sure your group has addressed all the requirements for the bibliography portion of the Salmon in the Tree assignment (see pages 7-8 of the assignment from your instructor).


Use this flowchart to help you determine the type of a source (non-academic, academic non-peer reviewed, or academic peer reviewed).

Finding a non-academic source

For the purposes of this assignment, your popular (non-academic) sources might include:

  • Newspaper or magazine articles
  • Webpage or blog entries
  • Books that do NOT have in-text citations

You can find popular articles and websites using Google. Even Wikipedia will work for this part of the assignment. You can find books using the Library's Discover Service. Remember that if you are not able to physically access the library (as is the situation currently with most students), you will need to use ebooks (electronic books). Most of the books in the TRU library are academic, but some of them are not, and you can tell that they are non-academic because they do not have in-text citations.

Remember the Flowchart (see above) and the three characteristics of academic sources; if you can show evidence that your source does NOT meet any one of these three criteria, then it is non-academic. In other words, you have a non-academic source if you can demonstrate just ONE of the following:

  • There are NO in-text citations
  • There is NO bibliography
  • The author is NOT an expert who is paid to do the research. If you cannot determine who the author is, then you have met this criterion!


Finding a non-peer reviewed academic source

For the purposes of this assignment, your non-peer reviewed academic source will probably be either a book or a government document. (Non-peer reviewed academic articles do exist, but they are often difficult to find in article databases.)

Use Google Advanced Search to find a government document. Enter your keywords, then in the "site or domain" field enter "" to (to find Canadian sources) or ".gov" (to find American sources), then select pdf as the file type. Many (but not all!) government reports will meet the criteria for non peer reviewed academic sources.

For books, use the Library's Discover service and limit your search results to ebooks. You might be able to find an academic book through Google Books, but the TRU Library is likely to be your best source.

Books tend to be about the big picture, so your search will need to be broader (less specific) than the one that you would use to find articles. For example, if you were researching salmon and the nitrogen cycle, you would search for articles using the search terms "salmon" AND "nitrogen cycle."  But to search for books, you would just use the word "salmon."  This is because it is unlikely that the library has a book that is just about the role that salmon play in the nitrogen cycle, but a book about the biology and ecology of salmon is likely to discuss it. After you find a book on salmon,  you might look in the table of contents and/or index for the words "nitrogen" or "nitrogen cycle". 


Once you have found a book or government document, check to make sure that a) it IS academic and b) it is NOT peer-reviewed. 

Remember that, for the purposes of this assignment, a book is considered to be academic if it meets ALL of the following criteria:

A. The author is an expert in the field who is paid to do the research.
B. There is a bibliography
C. There are in-text citations.

A. Is the author an expert?
Someone is an expert in a field if they are paid by a university, government or other institution to do the research. (Sometimes an independent scholar will publish a book, in which case, check to see if the scholar a) has a PhD in the subject or b) has published at least one peer reviewed article on the subject. Most books and reports will give information about the authors and their affiliations.


If the book doesn't tell you about the authors and their affiliations, use Google to find out more.


B. Is there is a bibliography?
A quick scan should answer this. Remember that "references" is another world for bibliography. Also, be aware that sometimes a book has a separate bibliography at the end of each chapter, so check there if you are in doubt. 



C. Are there are in-text citations?
Again, a quick scan should determine this.


If you have found EVIDENCE for A, B and C then you have an academic book. If you are missing evidence for ANY of these criteria, then you need to find another book and start over.


Has the source been peer reviewed?
Finally, you need to check for evidence that the source has been peer reviewed. A peer reviewed source will generally say, either in the front or back portion of the document, that it has been peer reviewed (or "refereed", which means the he same thing). If you find explicit mention that the title has been peer-reviewed, then you’ll need to find a different book for this part of the assignment. (On the other hand, you will have found one of your peer-reviewed resources!) However, you can limit your search for evidence to the book itself; you are not required to dig through the publisher’s online editorial policies. If there is NO mention of a peer review process in the book itself, then this lack of evidence is your evidence. Take a screenshot of the front pages of the book to show that it does not mention peer review.

Example: No mention of peer review appears on the front pages of this book.

You’ve just established that you have a non-peer reviewed academic source!

Finding a peer reviewed academic source

Most (if not all) of your peer reviewed academic sources will be articles published in scholarly journals. Start your search with the library's Discover service. If you don't find what you need, try some of the library's scientific databases.

Remember that you are looking for research articles. Scholarly journals mostly publish research articles, but they also publish things like editorials, letters and book reviews, which are excellent sources but would not satisfy the requirements for this part of the assignment - because even in a peer reviewed publication, these other types of writing do not usually go through the peer review process.

For an article to be considered peer reviewed, it must meet all of the criteria for an academic source, plus one more:

A. the author is an expert in the field who is paid to do the research

B. there is a bibliography

C. there are in-text citations

D. the article has been reviewed by one or more of the author's; peers (i.e., experts in the same or a closely related field)


A. Is the Author an Expert?

Someone is an expert in a field if they are paid by a university, government or other institution to do the research. Scholarly articles will almost always give the authors' affiliations -- i.e. who they they work for -- at either on the top or the bottom of the first or last page.










B. Is there is a bibliography?

A quick scan should answer this. Remember that "references" is another world for bibliography.



C. Are there are in-text citations?

Again, a quick scan should determine this.



If you have found EVIDENCE for a, b, & c, then you have an academic article. Now you just need to confirm whether it is a peer-reviewed source.


D. Is there evidence the article has been peer reviewed?

There are two kinds of evidence that an article has been peer reviewed. One form of evidence is dates on the article itself indicating when it was originally received by the journal, when it was revised, and when it was finally accepted for publication. If there is just an "accepted" date, then you don't have sufficient evidence that it actually went through peer review prior to publication. If the article includes a "revised" date, that is evidence that a peer review (and revision of content) took place. 

Example: A "revised" date on an article is evidence that it underwent a peer review process (which resulted in a revision by the author before the article was accepted and published).


If there is not sufficient evidence of peer review on the article itself, then you will need to search online for the journal's editorial policy. Most journals have an information page available on the publisher's website. If it is a peer reviewed journal, its information page will often give an explanation of the peer review process. Sometimes this information appears under the "About", "Aims & Scope", or "Instructions for Authors" (or similarly titled) sections. You can usually find a journal's home page with a Google search of the journal title together with the word "journal".

Example: In this case, the journal title is "Plos One":


Example: "Plos One" journal homepage "About" and "Journal Information" sections:


Example: Publisher's peer review statement for Plos One journal.

The statement of a peer review process is evidence that you have found a peer reviewed journal. Therefore, any scientific research articles published in such a journal will have been peer reviewed. 

The peer review process image