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Biology and Chemistry Capstone - Greensburg Campus

This guide will assist undergraduate students in completing their research for their senior class in biology or chemistry.

Biology and Chemistry Capstones

This guide will assist you in developing your research topic and subsequent paper for the biology or chemistry capstone.  It will also provide you with links to helpful sites and people.

The biological sciences major at Pitt-Greensburg prepares students for graduate work in biology as well as for medical, dental or veterinary school.  The chemistry major is designed for students who wish to pursue careers in industry, business, communications, government, agricultural and food science, materials science, clinical science and environmental science.  This degree can also provide opportunities for graduate work in the health related professions.

Developing Search Terms & Researching Your Topic

  • mind map image from credo referenceDevelop a topic that asks a question or poses a problem that interests you.
  • Select appropriate search terms for your subject. For better, more relevant results, you may want to use more specific search terms.
  • If you're struggling to find search terms, consider looking up your topic in a textbook or reference database for ideas. The Credo Reference database also has a visual mind map -- enter a topic, and a "map" of words and phrases related to your topic will appear (pictured).
  • Here are some search term examples. Note the use of quotation marks to keep phrases together for more relevant results.
bioassessment macroinvertebrates
"polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons" mutagenesis
phytoremediation "gap junction"


  • Search PITTCat+ and subject-oriented databases.
  • Revise your topic. Determine how you will answer your question.
  • Evaluate your resources carefully!
  • When in doubt, contact your librarian.

The sample worksheets listed below will help you refine your research topic and understand how to evaluate a scholarly journal article.