Choosing a topic - where do you begin?
Many students choose a topic that they already know something about and explore new research in that area. Whatever you choose, make sure you are interested in the topic! If you don't have an idea yet, browsing through the library's book collection in biology will present you with a broad variety of subjects. You might also want to scan issues of the magazines Discover, New Scientist, BBC Knowledge, or Science to read about topics in the recent news.
Too big or too little?
A quick way to get a feel for how well your area has been researched is to run a search in Google Scholar. If only 10 hits are returned you'll know you have to expand your topic or change your topic. There just isn't enough information. On the other hand, if you get 10,000 hits you'll know you have to narrow down your topic. Google Scholar also has a link at the top of the results list to limit results by date.
If you have answered "yes" to these five questions you have probably located a scientific article.
Research articles are also often known as scientific or peer reviewed articles. If the article is NOT written by the person or group who did the research, it is NOT a peer-reviewed or scientific article. Research articles are important for knowing what new discoveries have been made. This is why it is important to use recent articles, since they will be the first things published on a new scientific development.
Here's a quick overview of how to identify these journal articles:
When the author's name appears in the sentence, it does not need to be repeated in the citation.
Recent literature has examined long-run price drifts following initial public offerings and other factors (Ritter 2009).
Fisher (2010) reaches more or less the same conclusion.
More than one author
(Smith and Johnson 1998)
(Smith et al. 2001)
Multiple citations in the same sentence
When referencing multiple studies within the same sentence, cite in order by author's last name
(Dawson J 2006; Mondari 2010)
Use the first word or first few words of the title. Use only as many words as are needed to distinguish it from other references.
(Handbook ... 2000)
To save space, journal titles are abbreviated according to the ISO 4 standard, shortening significant words and omitting insignificant words. Read more and search the List of Title Word Abbreviations at ISSN.org.
NOTE: There is another abbreviation generation CASSI which can also be used. It does not follow CSE so remember to make the appropriate adjustments.
Last name First initial. Year. Article title, sentence style capitalization. Abbreviated journal title. Volume(issue, if available):pages. URL, if no DOI available
Lawskowski DA. 2002. Physical and chemical proprieties of pyrethroids. Rev Environ Contam Toxiocol. 174:149-170. doi:10.1136/rect.330.7500.1119
Article titles are not italicized. However, species names are italicized and capitalized normally.
In vitro and in vivo reconstitution of the cadherin-catenin-actin complex from Caenorhabditis elegans.
Journal article with multiple authors
When there are 2 to 10 authors, list all of them. If there are more than 10 authors, list the first 10 followed by et al.
Last name First initial, Last name First initial, Last name First initial. Year. Article title, sentence style capitalization. Abbreviated journal title. Volume(issue, if available):pages. URL, if no DOI available
Smart N, Fang ZY, Marwick TH. 2003. A practical guide to exercise training for heart failure patients. J Card Fail. 9(1):49-58. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12612873
Jones AR Smith KR, Williams AB, Carter F, White RY, Little RT, Kane TR, Larosa J, Mann FD, Swartz MN, et al.
Last name First initial, Last name First initial, Last name First initial. Estimated date. Article title, sentence style capitalization. Abbreviated journal title. URL, if no DOI available
Chinsembu KC, Syakalima M, Semenya SS. Forthcoming 2019 Mar. Ethnomedicinal plants used by traditional healers in the management of HIV/AIDS opportunistic diseases in Lusaka, Zambia. S Afr J Bot. doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2015.05.009
Last name First initial. Year Month Day. Title of post, sentence style capitalization [blog]. Title of blog. [access date with abbreviated month]. URL
Fogarty M. 2012 Aug 14. Formatting titles on Twitter and Facebook [blog]. Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. [accessed 2012 Oct 19]. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/formatting-titles-on-twitter-and-facebook.aspx
Last name First initial. Year. Title, sentence style capitalization. Edition, if available. Publisher's location: Publisher's name.
Stahl SM. 2000. Essential psychopharmacology of depression and bipolar disorder. New York (NY): Cambridge University Press.
Book with multiple authors
Last name First initial, Last name First initial. Year. Title, sentence style capitalization. Edition, if available. Publisher's location: Publisher's name.
Schott J, Priest J. 2002. Leading antenatal classes: a practical guide. 2nd ed. Boston (MA): Books for Midwives.
Chapter in edited book
Last name First initial. Year. Chapter title, sentence style capitalization. In Editor, editors. Book title, sentence style capitalization. Publisher's location: Publisher's name. Pages.
Anderson RJ. 2001. Acute renal failure. In Braunwald E, Isselbacher KJ, editors. Harrison’s principles of international medicine. New York (NY): McGraw-Hill. p. 1149-1155.
Chapter in non-edited book
Last name First initial. Year. Book title, sentence style capitalization. Publisher's location: Publisher's name. Chapter title, sentence style capitalization; Pages.
Shakelford RT. Surgery of the alimentary tract. Philadelphia (PA): W.B. Saunders. Chapter 2, Esophagoscopy; p. 29-40.
Notes can include sponsoring organization if different from performing organization.
Last name Initials (Performing organization name and address, if different from publisher). Title of report, sentence style capitalization. Edition, if available. Place of publication: publisher. Report No., if available: Contract No., if available: Grant No, if available.: Notes, if available.
Cooper LN (Department of Physics, Brown University, Providence, RI). 1990. Theoretical and experimental research into biological mechanisms underlying learning and memory. Washington (DC): Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Report No.: AFOSR-TR-90-0672. Sponsored by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Authors. Date. Title of paper. In: Editors. Title of book. Number and name of conference; date of conference; place of conference. Place of publication: publisher. Location. Notes.
Murphy J, McLean A, McGreevy P, Sheridan F, Hanly P. 2008. The use of training aids (gadgets) within equitation: meritorious or detrimental? In: Murphy J, Hennessy K, Wall P, Hanly P, editors. ISES Dublin 2008. Proceedings of the 4th ISES Conference; Dublin. Dublin (Ireland): University College Dublin. p. 29.
Author. Year Month Day. Website title [online review]. [access date]. URL
Jcocker99. 2017 Jan 25. GNC [online review]. [accessed 2017 Feb 21]. http://www.gnc.com/Hydroxycut-Platinum/product.jsp?productId=115799436&channel
Last name First initial. Year. Title of image [photograph].
Thomas K. 2014. IMG_2947.jpg [photograph].
Title of webpage, sentence style capitalization. Year Month Day. Website title [screenshot]. URL
Calmatives for dogs. 2017 Sept 15. Google Shopping [screenshot]. https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=calmatives+for+dogs&tbm=shop&*
Artist's name (if available). Title of image, sentence style capitalization [image]. Year. Publisher's name. [date updated; date accessed]. URL.
Mind on fire [image]. 2013. Elizabeth Jameson's Portfolio. [accessed 2012 Oct 23]. http://www.jamesononfineart.com/large-multi-view/Art%20of%20the520Brain/1992765-1-171407.html.
Images or tables from an article
Images or tables from journal articles are cited as journal articles.
Lawskowski DA. 2002. Physical and chemical proprieties of pyrethroids. Rev Environ Contam Toxiocol. 174:49-170. doi:10.1136/rect.330.7500.1119
UNAIDS. 2018. Trend of new HIV infections [table]. AIDSInfo. [accessed 15 Mar 2019]. http://aidsinfo.unaids.org/
CSE recommends placing reference to personal communications such as letters and conversations with the running text, not as formal end references. The nature and the source of the cited information should be identified by an appropriate statement. Place the source information within parentheses, using a term or terms to indicate clearly that the citation is not represented in the reference list.
...and most of these meningiomas proved to be inoperable (2003 letter from RS Grant to me; unreferenced, see "Notes") while a few were not.
The author must provide written permission to the publisher from the cited person (if living) or from the cited organization if it is carried in a document such as an internal memorandum that is not accessible to scholars. The permission should be acknowledged in an "Acknowledgements" or a "Notes" section that follows the text of an article or is placed at the end of a book's main text; such statements may include additional details such as the reason for the communication.
CSE Manual 188.8.131.52.3 Personal Communications
Company name. Product name [label].
Iovate Health Sciences. Hydroxycut platinum [label].
Last name First initial. Year Month Day. Article title, sentence style capitalization. Newspaper title (edition, if available). Section, if available:beginning page of article (column no.).
Weiss R. 2003 Apr 11. Study shows problems in cloning people: researchers find replicating primates will be harder than other mammals. Washington Post (Hom Ed.). Sect. A:12 (col. 1).
Online newspaper article
Last name First initial. Year Month Day. Article title, sentence style capitalization. Newspaper title (edition, if available). [accessed date]. URL
Cheshire S. 2014 Aug 6. Does oil pulling work? CNN Wire (U.S. Ed.). [accessed 28 March 2017]. http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/06/health/oil-pulling/
Last name Initials, Last name Initials, inventors; patent holder, assignee. Date. Title of patent, sentence level capitalization. Country issuing patent Country code Patent number.
Blanco EE, Meade JC, Richards WD, inventors; Ophthalmic Ventures, assignee. 1990 Nov 13. Surgical stapling system. United States patent US 4,969,591.
Narrator's name. Date first aired. Title of podcast episode, sentence-style capitalization [podcast, episode number if available]. Name of podcast show. Producer. Length. [accessed date]. URL
Vuolo M. 2012 July 9. Our dying words [podcast, episode 16]. Lexicon Valley. Slate. 21:10 minutes. [accessed 2012 Oct 23]. http://slate.com/articles/podcasts/lexicon_valley/2012/07/why_should_we_care.html
Last name First initial. Date of presentation. Title of PowerPoint, sentence style capitalization. Paper presented at: Title of class or conference. Institution (if for class). Place of class.
Sheldon K. 2018 February 26. Learning library basics. Paper presented at: DelVal Experience I. Delaware Valley University. Doylestown, PA.
Last name First initial [Host]. Date first aired. Story title, sentence style capitalization [Radio broadcast episode]. Name of show. Producer. [accessed date]. URL
Inskeep S [Host]. 2014 July 8. Buddhist monks face jail time for July 4 fireworks display [Radio broadcast episode]. Morning Edition. NPR. [accessed 2015 Nov 28]. http://www.npr.org/2014/07/08/329731421/buddhist-monks-face-jail-time-for-july-4-fireworks-display
The same format applies for reports sponsored by the government as for other sponsors.
Last name First initial. Year. Report title, sentence level capitalization. Edition, if available. Publisher's location: Publisher's name. Report number, if available.
Feller BA. 1981. Health characteristics of persons with chronic activity limitation, United States, 1979. Hyattsville (MD): National Center for Health Statistics (US). Report No.: VHS-SER-10/137.
Last name First initial. Year Month Day. Name of survey, sentence level capitalization [survey or questionnaire].
Smith J. 2009 May 3. Measuring information service outcomes survey [survey].
Author. Title of dissertation or thesis [content designator]. [Place of publication]: publisher; date
Lutz M. 1989. 1903: American nervousness and the economy of cultural change [dissertation]. [Stanford (CA)]: Stanford University.
Oviedo S. 1995. Adolescent pregnancy: voices heard in the everyday lives of pregnant teenagers [master's thesis]. [Denton (TX)]: University of North Texas.
Online video, no author
Title of video, sentence style capitalization [video]. Year posted. Title of program, if available. Website title. [access date]. URL
How smart are animals? [video]. 2011 Feb 9. NOVA scienceNOW. PBS. [accessed 2012 March 25]. http://video.pbs.org/video/1777525840
Author. Year posted. Title of video, sentence style capitalization [video]. Title of program or hosting platform, if available. Website title. [access date]. URL
National Geographic. 2008. 2 degrees warmer: ocean life in danger [video]. YouTube.com. [accessed 2017 March 25]. http://youtu.be/P-0_gDXqYeQ
See http://lynn-library.libguides.com/cse/cseavb for more details on where to locate this information.
Title of homepage, sentence style capitalization. Year. Edition, if available. Publisher's location: Publisher's name; [date updated; date accessed]. URL
APSnet: plant pathology online. 2005. St Paul (MN): American Phytopathological Association; [accessed 2005 Jun 20]. http://www.apsnet.org/