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BIOC54: Animal Behaviour

A guide on library resources to help with your course.

Evaluating Popular Media

When reviewing popular media coverage of a particular research study, there are two key things you'll want to be mindful of:

  1. Is this a good/credible source?
  2. Does it contain enough information to track down the original research study?

While some popular media will provide direct links to the original study, it's fairly common not to. When this happens, you'll need to look for "clues" in the text to help point you in the right direction.

Here's some key pieces of information to scan for:

  • Article title
  • Journal it was published in
  • Year of publication
  • Author(s)
  • Major concepts being investigated
  • Methodology (e.g. sample size)
  • Key results/findings

If you have enough information to track down the original study, you can look it up using either the library website or Google Scholar (see the "Locating Article Full Text" page in the left menu).

If you're still struggling to get enough detail about the original study, try a Google search using any of the key clues you found while reading the popular media source. Sometimes multiple outlets will cover the same study, and so may have more information or even a direct link!