While wikipedia can sometimes be a good starting point, it is not considered "scholarly." If you are you having trouble distinguishing between the peer-reviewed/scholarly journals from the trade publication or popular magazines, Below is a link to a document that will help explain the differences.
REVIEW VERSUS RESEARCH
It is also important to be able to distinguish between review articles and research articles. A review article’s primary purpose is not to present new research, but to summarize, analyze, discuss, and provide an overview of previously published work on a topic. A research article is designed to present new research, methods, and/or findings. Research articles often employ the IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Research, and Discussion) format. Below are a few articles of interest on this topic.
One of the first steps in creating a research plan is to select "key words" which best describe the topic you plan to research.
If you are unfamiliar with the terminology you encounter while searching article databases (or while reading articles in journals) you may wish to refer to sources such as textbooks, dictionaries, and other reference resource in the field of study. Contact your instructor if you are unsure if a particular topic is appropriate. It is usually wise to make sure you are on target with your topic before you begin to spend much time researching a project.
Here is a short list of some possible terms (be sure to scroll down to check out the whole list). Use the following terms individually or in combination with one another:
"sexual spontaneous generation"
Check out these databases if you are looking for scholarly articles.
Below are some databases that will be more relevant/useful for the "sciences." Be sure to "scroll" down through the box to see additional choices.
There is a lot of content in this box, be sure to scroll down for additional tips/techniques.
If you need a better understanding of Boolean logic and searching, here are a few resources to help:
Or, sometimes called a Survey of the Scholarship.
A literature review is a text written by someone to consider the critical points of current knowledge including substantive findings, as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to a particular topic. Literature reviews are secondary sources, and as such, do not report any new or original experimental work. Also, a literature review can be interpreted as a review of an abstract accomplishment.
Most often associated with academic-oriented literature, such as a thesis or peer-reviewed article, a literature review usually precedes a research proposal and results section. Its main goals are to situate the current study within the body of literature and to provide context for the particular reader. Literature reviews are a staple for research in nearly every academic field.