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Lab report assignment: Catalase Activity Assay

This course page corresponds to week 3 (Sept 19 - 25) of your BIOL 1210 laboratory course.

This page is designed to help you locate appropriate library resources such as peer-reviewed, scholarly articles, background material, and credible online sources for the write-up for your biology lab reports. It is based on the Catalase Activity Assay, in weeks 3 and 4 of your lab course, but the strategies and approaches are relevant for finding sources for all your assignments.

Overview of what we'll cover:

  • Summon as a starting point for finding background research
  • JSTOR database of scholarly, peer-reviewed articles for your topic
  • Criteria to evaluate information sources
  • Citing key resources in APA

Learning objectives:

  • Locate and cite appropriate information sources for lab report
  • Use evaluative skills when assessing online sources for credibility
  • Recognize proper APA citation format 

Develop your search strategy

What is the question your lab is trying to answer?

What effect does pH have on enzyme activity?

To start your search, focus on the most essential words in that question:

What effect does pH have on enzyme activity?

These keywords and their synonyms or related terms should form your search strategy.

Search diagramme

Start with a Summon Search

This video will help you find credbile sources for your lab reports. It focusses on the Catalase Lab, but you can use Summon for any of your assignments that require research.

Help: Recognizing peer-reviewed, scholarly articles

It is important to include references to scholarly and credible sources of information in your lab reports. Scientific writing builds on the work of others, and you will strengthen your writing by supporting it with evidence from peer-reviewed, scholarly sources. Whether you are finding support for your hypothesis or discussing the results of your experiments, referencing external sources tells your readers that you have done some research on the topic and provides them with publication details to locate those sources.

The following short video describes the process of peer-review in scholarly publishing, and why this type of information is usually trustworthy.

Using KPU's science databases

The Library subscribes to over 100 databases, many of which contain specialized science collections of scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. For the catalase lab, try these to start with:

Help: How to search JSTOR

This video explains searching for articles in JSTOR. Thanks to Utah State University Library.

Help: How do I know if it's scholarly?

It is important to be able to recognize scholarly literature to incorporate into your lab reports. Not sure how to tell whether an article would be considered scholarly or peer-reviewed?

Use the page linked here and see for yourself.

Help: Using Google Scholar to find more sources

Once you've searched the Library's databases, check Google Scholar for more articles and reports. Use the "Where Can I Get This?" link to take you to articles available through KPU's subscriptions. Ask a librarian how to set up Google Scholar for your off-campus use.

Google Scholar Search

Evaluate your sources

When deciding whether or not to use a source of information is credible, take a minute to consider the following questions. 

Click on the arrows below.

Help: Useful web resources and Wikipedia

The following are freely available, reliable sources for searching concepts in introductory biology. If you do include information from one of these sources, make sure to cite it correctly in the text of your report, as well as include it in your reference list.


A note about Wikipedia:


Wikipedia provides useful background information on topics in biology and biochemistry. It will likely be one of the first pages in your Google search results. Explore the broad overviews, recommended links to external sites, further reading, and references. These will very often lead to information on government and research sites that is freely accessible to the public.

Use your best critical thinking to determine whether a site is accurate, credible, and relevant to your research.


Think of Wikipedia as a starting point for your research that will lead to other, verifiable, sources. You should not be citing Wikipedia in your lab reports.

Credit your sources

Please refer to the KPU Library APA Citation Style guide. Examples for citing books, reference works, journal articles, and websites are all there.

For additional resources in APA citation, check out the Library's new APA Style Citations, an open Pressbook with explanations, examples, and activities to help guide you in using this style.


When citing your textbook, you will need to pay attention to the edition you are using, and how to treat the numerous authors. See the rules for: 

Lab manual:

When citing your entire lab manual, treat it as a book, with a group (or corporate) author.

This means that you will use the name of the faculty as the group responsible for the content of the manual. Also remember to include any edition information, following the title, just as you would for any second or subsequent editions of a book. 

Faculty of Science and Horticulture. (2019). Biology 1210: Introduction to Biology II (2019/2020 ed.). Macmillan Learning Curriculum Solutions.

(Remember that your reference should be indented on the second line.)

If your course is NOT using the lab manual but accessing individual lab units from your course Moodle site, use the following template:

Author, A.A. (Date). Title [Description]. Publisher if different from author. https://xxxxx


Faculty of Science and Horticulture. (2020). Eye Colour Genetics in Fruit Flies [PDF].  Moodle.

NOTE: When referencing material on a course website (i.e., Moodle), provide your reader with the link to the Moodle login page, and NOT directly to the file. See above example.

(Remember that your reference should be indented on the second line.)

Practice JoVE