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College 1 STEM Guide

This guide will provide you with resources to help you complete your poster assignment.

Welcome College 1 STEM Students

Today you will learn how to get help from a PCC librarian, brainstorm keywords related to research topics, and find primary scientific literature in library databases.

College 1 STEM Poster Assignment

For the Poster Assignment, you'll be investigating this question:

"How does community cultural wealth lead to success in college students?" 

This is a broad question, but you'll be narrowing it down by focusing on one factor (independent variable) and one measure of success (dependent variable). These variables will serve as your "keywords," or search terms, as you look for articles in databases.

The articles you read will inform you about what research has already been completed in your field of interest. Learning about the research that's already been done in your area of investigation will aid in the development of your hypothesis, which you will later test via your own original experiment. 

The articles you find in library databases will be cited in the Introduction section of your poster, where you provide background and context on your topic and hypothesis.

Recommended Databases

link to EBSCOhost Combined database   

Search thousands of journal, magazine, and newspaper articles covering all disciplines.



link to ProQuest Combined logo 

Search for articles from academic journals, newspapers, magazines and other periodicals covering myriad subject areas.


link to Google Scholar


Search for scholarly literature using Google. Watch this brief video to learn to use Google Scholar like a pro.

Poster Tips

What is Primary Scientific Literature?

You'll be searching library databases for primary scientific literature

How will you know when you find the right type of article? Look for the following clues. Primary research articles: 

  • report original research
  • include author affiliations
  • describe methods used in the experiment
  • include data, tables, and / or graphs
  • include references (citations)
  • have gone through the peer review process 
  • are published in scholarly (also known as academic) journals, not in newspapers or magazines

Remember: You'll need to limit your database search results to scholarly or academic journals. We'll show you how!


PCC Librarian Walter Butler breaks down the elements to look for when you're determining whether an article is presenting original scientific research.

Strategies for Reading Primary Research Articles

Tips from Jennifer Raff, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of Kansas

Interactive tutorial created by Michael Fosmire at Purdue University Libraries

Cite Your Sources!

Annotated Bibliography

Once you and your group find relevant articles, you'll need to cite and annotate them (summarize their relevance). This is called an annotated bibliography. For tips on creating an annotated bibliography, check out Purdue OWL's Guide.

Follow this format for your citation:

Authors' names. Publication Year. Article Title. Journal Title & Volume: Page Numbers.


Zeitsch, B., Verweij, K., Heath, A., Martin, N. 2012. Variation in human mate choice: Simultaneously investigating heritability, parental influence, sexual imprinting, and assortative mating. American Naturalist 177: 605-616.

Citing Sources on Your Scientific Poster: A Two-Part Process! 

1. In-Text Citations

The articles that you select as sources will be discussed and cited in the Introduction section of your poster. You will paraphrase the ideas you present rather than utilizing direct quotes. Any time you use an idea that isn't common knowledge (meaning something general you might read in a textbook) and isn't your own original idea, you'll need to provide an in-text citation so that your reader knows where you found the information.

Let's say you want to cite an article by an author named Foster that was published in 2017.

  • For an article with one author, follow this format for your in-text citation: 

Seventy percent of students who meditate for at least 30 minutes each day graduate within four years (Foster 2017).

  • For an article with two authors, follow this format: 

Seventy percent of students who meditate for at least 30 minutes each day graduate within four years (Foster & Fleming 2017).

  • For an article with more than two authors, follow this format: 

Seventy percent of students who meditate for at least 30 minutes each day graduate within four years (Foster et al. 2017).


2. References List

The second step in citing your sources will be to create a References list including at least three primary literature sources. These will be more detailed versions of the in-text citations you provided in the Introduction section of your poster.

Remember! Every in-text citation on your poster should have a corresponding detailed citation in the References list, and every article in the References list should have an in-text citation somewhere in your poster's Introduction section.

The citations in the References list will be in alphabetical order by the author's last name and will follow the format above in the Annotated Bibliography section. Questions? Ask a Librarian! 



STEM College 1 Posters