Skip to Main Content

IB Biology: Home

The research question - where do you begin?

Where to start?

  • Find something that interests you.  
    • For example: You have always wondered why apples turn brown after they are cut open.
    • How do you turn that into a research question? You ask questions and do basic research.
    • What is an apple? Why do apples brown? What happens when the exposed apple flesh comes into contact with air? What is air? What type of element is it? 
  • As you start to answer your questions, you will learn information about your topic and develop your research question.

 Create five or six questions about your own research question that you will need to answer before you begin your research.

PASSWORDS for the school databases can be found on the  LIBRARY GOOGLE CLASSROOM  - JOIN CODE  24yg7tg.  


USDA Research Databases  - United States Department of Agriculture Research Service

United States Water Dashboard - Interactive national map of data on water in the United States 

United States Water Data - Hempstead lake.

Cite your Biology Internal Assessment in APA

  • If you are citing from a database, there will be a link to cite your document. Select the link and choose the APA citation.
  • If you are citing from a website, use the following directions to create a proper APA citation with the matching parenthetical citation. Pay attention to the punctuation and text style in each example.

Author. (publication date; if not known, put n.d.). Title of the web page. Retrieved from URL.


Krazier, S. (2005). Global Warming 101. Retrieved fro

  • Parenthetical example: (Krazier, 2005)

Example with no author:

Global Warming 101. (2005). from

  • Parenthetical example: ("Global Warming 101," 2005, p4)

Example with no date: 

Krazier, S. (n.d.).Global Warming 101. Retrieved from

  • Parenthetical example: (Krazier, n.d.)

Cite an Illustration or Table

  • If you created your own table , simply label it Table and give it a number. If you created your own illustration or graph, simply label it Fig. and give it a number.
  • However, if you are using tables or documents created by another source, use the guide below to give the author credit.

How to Evaluate a Website

It can be tempting to use any source in your paper that seems to agree with your thesis, but you need to carefully evaluate websites and decide which ones you can trust. 

How to evaluate a website

Authority: Why can we believe this source?

  • Who is the author? What are their credentials?
  • Is the site created or sponsored by a reputable organization?
    • Find this information in the About section of the website or look for the Mission of the website.

Viewpoint: What is the author’s perspective?

  • Does the author have a bias?
  • What is the purpose for the website? Is it to inform, teach, entertain or sell?

Accuracy: How up to date and accurate is the website?

  • When was the website last updated?

URL: What does the URL tell you about a website

  • What is the extension in the URL? .com, .gov, .org …


  • When was the information published or updated?

Search Techniques

Search for an exact match  -   Put a word or phrase inside quotes. For example, "tallest building".

Search for a specific site  -  Put "site:" in front of a site or domain. For example, or

Database Videos

  • ******Please note: there is a slight change in the way you access the school databases since this video was recorded. 
    • Go to the South Side High School home page
    • Select Academics
    • Select SSHS Library Media Center.
      • You must access the databases from the school library page.

After viewing the two videos on how to search in the Proquest and Science and Context Databases, you will now create your own search strategies and look for information on the remaining elements of the research question that we have not addressed.

The research question is asking which element is best at keeping apples from browning. The two videos demonstrated finding information on salt and apples. Now it is your turn.

A. Find two articles about Vinegar from the database that you would use in your research. The articles can be from either or both databases. Cite the article and explain:

1.Why you selected the article.

2. What information was important in the article and how will it help you further your research.

B. Find two articles about Lemon Juice from the databases that you would use in your research. They articles can be from either or both databases. Cite the article and explain:

1.Why you selected the article.

2. What information was important in the article and how will it help you further your research.