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BIOL 112: General Biology II Laboratory

Assignment 1: Reading a Literature Review

In class you were introduced to the main theme of the lab project you will be undertaking, which is to characterize microbes associated with plants. This first assignment will have you delve deeper into the topic by reading a literature review about Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria/Bacteria (PGPR/PGPB).

What is a Literature Review?

Literature reviews (or review articles) are critical evaluations of material that has already been published. By organizing, integrating, and evaluating previously published material, authors of literature reviews consider the progress of research toward clarifying a problem.

Review articles are not primary sources since they review previously published material. They can be of great value for identifying potentially good primary sources, but they aren't primary themselves.

What is a Secondary Source?

In the Sciences, primary sources are documents that provide full description of the original research. For example, a primary source would be a journal article where scientists describe their research on rhizosphere bacteria. A secondary source would be an article commenting on or analyzing the scientists' research on rhizosphere bacteria.



Literature Review or review article, magazine article, news article, book, textbook, etc. 


Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Sources




Secondary Tertiary
Definition Original documents created or experienced concurrently with the event being researched Works that analyze, assess, or interpret a historical event, an era, or a phenomenon. Generally uses primary sources. Sources that identify, locate, and synthesize primary AND secondary sources
Characteristics First hand observations, contemporary accounts of the event. Viewpoint of the time Interpretation of information, usually written well after an event. Offers reviews or critiques Reference works, collections of lists of primary and secondary sources, finding tools for sources
Examples Interviews, news, footage, data sets, original research, speeches, diaries, letters, creative works, photographs Research studies, literary criticism, book reviews, biographies, textbooks Encyclopedias, bibliographies, dictionaries, manuals, textbooks, fact books