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BIOl 102: Evolution & Biology of Sex

From popular article to primary source

Knowing how to find the original source from a news or popular press report is a key research skill. You'll need to use it for your "sex in the press" assignment, when you have to first find a popular media story, and then track down the published research study that it mentions. 

Let's read the following article, and then take some time to track down the scientific research that's discussed. 

Once we've read the article, we'll discuss it briefly, and then we're going to divide into small groups and see if we can track down ALL of the scientific studies mentioned. We'll use this Google Sheet to track our progress: BIOL 102 - Fall 2020 - Find the Research

Finding Science in the Media

You are going to have to find your own popular media story related to sex! You can keep your eye out as you read the news, but you may also want to go searching for a fun and interesting article, and you have lots of options for that. Here are some suggestions. 

Anytime that you are searching for stories about the science of sex,  you'll need to think about the search terms that you're using. If you're looking for popular media, you'll need to think about whether the topic you're looking for is going to be described clinically or with euphemisms, and think about whether you want to use search terms that are broadly topical (sex/sexuality, mate/mating, reproduction, love) or quite specific, such as anatomical terms (vagina, penis, nipple, sperm, etc) or relevant academic language ("sexual selection" or "mate competition"). You'll likely want to try several different search combinations! 

One option is to check out popular science magazines for science media addressed to a general audience: 

There is a whole world of websites that offer up catchy, "clickbait" style short, accessible articles about science.

Many will report on relatively recent findings. You may need to look for a search bar, or do a Google search for search the name of the site (e.g IFLScience) and the topic. 

You can also try a Google search that includes search terms related both to the topic you're looking for (sex) and what you're trying to find (new research):

(sex or sexual)  ("new research" OR "new study" OR "recent research" OR "Recent study")

You can also use the "tools" button at the top of your Google search to adjust your results by date, and use the 'news' filter to find news articles. See screenshot below:


Newspapers are another good place to look for science journalism. Try one of the databases below, which cover the major news sources in the United States. 

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