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University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

BIOL 3987: Communication in Biology Research Guide

This guide is intended to help students enrolled in BIOL 3987 as they research and synthesize information for seminar presentations.

Plan Your Seminar

As you begin planning your seminar, you'll move from learning more about your chosen topic to figuring out how to convey that to a non-expert audience. (Other biology students have some relevant background knowledge, but they haven't necessarily been immersed in your topic.)

Guiding Questions

  1. What does your audience need to know to understand this topic?
  2. What are the three most important things about your topic? Why are they the most critical?
  3. What do you want your audience to remember after the seminar?

(Questions adapted from those in the submission guidelines for In the Library with the Lead Pipe.)

Search Tips

Sometimes the information you've already found isn't enough to address something your audience will need to know. As new information needs come up, try to find sources that cover that information.

  1. Have any of your sources almost addressed this? If it's mentioned in passing with a citation, look up the citation. If there's not a citation, try to borrow the language used in the source.
  2. If you're researching a species, use the Latin name.
  3. Are you searching too narrowly? You may need to look for research that's related to your main interest but isn't focused on it.

If you're still having trouble, contact librarian Kate Conerton at