Skip to Main Content
The University of Massachusetts Amherst

BIOLOGY 312 Writing In Biology - Andrew Spracklen


For your 'General Audience Article' assignment you will need to find a peer reviewed original research article. The best database to use to find research articles will depend on your topic, but here are some good places to start:

Background Research

You might not be very familiar with your topic to start.  Coming up with good keywords to use in a database can be challenging.  Use reference sources like encyclopedias to investigate your topic.  You can discover new keywords and form a more complete picture of your topic before diving into the journal literature.


If you are interested in browsing some of the peer-reviewed science journals, here are some suggested titles to start with.

NOTE: Not everything in these journals is peer-reviewed. Be sure to look for research articles (with Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, References) to use in your assignments!

Popular Science Articles

For your 'General Audience Article' assignment, get a feel for how information from a primary research article is summarized in a news article by reading examples of exemplary journalism.  While there are many places to find popular science articles or articles written more for the general population, not all of them do a great job.  Some suggested websites and journals:

Create New York Times Account

New York TImes Online
UMass Amherst Libraries have purchased access to the New York Times Academic Pass program for the UMass Amherst campus. To register for your academic account to the New York Times, you'll need a UMass Amherst email address. 

Follow the Registration instructions on our New York TImes Online guide to set up your account.

Reputable Websites

These websites are not traditional news outlets but they often need to summarize important science information for a general audience.  They must be concise, clear, and informative: attributes you are aiming for in all of your writing in this course.