Biology Research Paper Writing: Tips from 7 Pros

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Biology Research Paper Writing: Tips from 7 Pros

A biology research paper is a text that examines one specific component of biology in a detailed way by presenting various scholarly ideas and opinions on that component.  Biology research papers will require a learner to do extensive research beyond his or her course textbook in order to generate a comprehensive analysis of the topic of study.  In this way, a biology research paper differs from papers in which the student demonstrates his or her individual knowledge of course material by recounting what has been learned in class discussions and the course textbook.  Biology research papers are intended to go beyond this scope in order to present multiple, sometimes varying viewpoints on a topic in order to generate new and deeper understanding.

Biology research papers begin with research.  After a student has selected his or her biology subject, he or she should begin an investigation into the various sources available on that topic.  In order to find the most relevant material, a student should not limit him or herself to the books housed in his or her university library.  Rather, he or she should enlist the assistance of a reference librarian in order to discover the panoply of materials available that may be retrieved from online sources or borrowed from other institutions.

The process of looking through and assessing research materials will often begin with very general sources, such as biology reference books, and progress to more specific studies, such as scholarly journal articles.  It is important for students to progress in this order so that they have a complete understanding of the basics of their topic of study before they seek to engage more specific and detailed ideas.

Once the research has been completed, the student must decide how best to present his or her material.  Almost always, the best organization for a research paper will be a steady progression from general materials to more specific ones.  Thus, the first few paragraphs of the biology report should clearly define the topic of the report and its relevance in biology.  If it is a more obscure topic, the learner will need to spend several paragraphs fully explaining it in such a way that a reader will have a thorough understanding.  Next, the student should begin to present the scholarly research he or she discovered, taking care to group sources that discuss similar phenomena together.  After all of the research has been presented, the student should close the report by suggesting what the research reported in the report suggests about the topic at large.



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Viewpoint of Author #2
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College biology essay writing assignments serve two purposes.  The first purpose is to supplement the biology curriculum and encourage students to use critical thinking skills to explore biology-related subjects.  The second purpose is to enhance students' writing skills.  One of the assignments that supports both purposes is the biology article.

Biology essays are generally short but well-presented writing assignments dedicated to the exploration of one particular topic.  The topic assigned for the biology essay might require that the student present an overall picture of a topic or it might require that a student present an in-depth exploration of one small piece of the topic.  For instance, if the topic is genetics, the instructor might ask that students present an overview of genetics as a science or assign a more specific assignment such as describing how stem cell regulations affect genetic research.

Many students believe that writing a biology report should stem from their own beliefs and opinions.  To a certain extent, this might be true.  However, an academic report should never be an opinion writing piece unless specifically requested by the instructor.  This is because opinion has little to do with academics.  Biology essays are no different.  Every academic report should be backed by sound research and well-written arguments, not the opinions of the writer.  

Yet, the ideas for the topics of a biology essay might be garnered from the opinions of the writer.  And there is no reason why those opinions should be ignored when deciding on a topic.  For instance, if the student believes that stem cell research is morally wrong, that student might seek to write a paper built around the argument that stem cell research is not necessary to advance science.  The thesis of such a report might be that stem cell research is unreliable or that such research has not proven effective in providing scientists with the tools they need to cure disease or reverse traumatic spinal injuries.

Even if the student is passionate about the topic and thesis he or she has selected for their biology essay, an article that fails to prove the argument will not likely receive a satisfactory grade.  The point of a biological essay is not whether or not the instructor agrees with the argument, but whether or not the student has met the burden of proving, or supporting, his or her thesis statement.  It is not likely that the instructor will agree with the majority of the biology articles that he or she grades.  However, the biology essay written by a student who has thoroughly research his or her topic and presented a reasonable and credible argument will nearly always receive a good grade for the assignment.



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Viewpoint of Author #3
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A good biology term paper topic should be specific enough to allow for the composition of a detailed, well-researched, term-length paper on a particular point or thesis related to that topic.  Such articles are typically ten pages or longer, and will often have a significant reference component.  This will require the student to integrate what he or she has learned in the context of the course with the relevant research done by scholars in the field.  

Selecting a biology term paper topic will likely be a process rather than an instant decision.  This is because coming up with a topic that is manageable to write about in the space of ten or so pages but also compelling will require a thorough examination of many aspects of the topic.  Therefore, it is best for the writer to start by picking a general area of biology that is of interest.  Take, for example, photosynthesis.  Photosynthesis is a huge topic that many researchers have written books about.  For a report to cover all aspects of photosynthesis in a thorough way would be impossible.  So now, determine a more specific aspect of photosynthesis.  How about the role of carbon dioxide in photosynthesis?  This is far more specific than photosynthesis itself.  Still, however, it is likely that there are entire books devoted to the subject.  So let's go even further, and make the topic about how the role of carbon dioxide in the photosynthesis process of a particular plant is affected by excessive air pollution.  Now, we have a biology term paper topic.  This topic is very specific, and though it is unlikely that every aspect of it could be tackled in a report, various parts of the topic could be reasonably and thoroughly addressed in ten or so pages.

As illustrated in the example above, biology term paper topics must be very specific.  This is because biology term paper topics must be developed into biology term paper theses.  A thesis is a point or argument that presents a specific claim regarding the selected topic.  Using the above example, a thesis might be as follows (keep in mind that this thesis is an example, and the claims that it makes may have no scientific basis): "The role of carbon dioxide in the photosynthesis process of basil plants is affected by the level of air pollution existing in the area in which the plant is growing."  Here, the claim or argument is that the role of carbon dioxide in the photosynthesis process of basil plans is affected by climate.  The paper will then defend this claim using extensive research.

When considering possible biology term paper topics, keep in mind that it is important to do some research in the general area of the topic before beginning.  This will help generate ideas about possible theses as well as allow for an informed selection of a topic worth writing on.  



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Viewpoint of Author #4
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Beginning in High School and continuing throughout college, most biology coursework requires that students submit a research paper as part of the curriculum.  Students often find producing a research paper as part of biology coursework more difficult than writing a standard research paper because biology coursework papers may include more technical information than standard non-science courses.

Yet, articles that are part of biology courseworks are generally no more difficult to write than any other type of reference project.  Biology courseworks reports should include a well-thought-out title, a well-formed thesis statement, an introduction, a paper body, and a conclusion.  In addition to the components of the report, special attention should be paid to the mechanics of the writing itself.  Students should take care to ensure that their document included good grammar, perfect spelling, proper punctuation, and that the correct citation style and formatting requirements have been met.

A student should ensure that they give their biology coursework research paper a title that accurately describes what the article is about.  Biology courseworks term papers do not require flashy titles.  Subtitles are generally ok, as long as the instructor does not specifically advise against using them.  Students should write the title of the report, their full name, and their college or university affiliation on a cover page when submitting longer papers or if the style of the report dictates it.  For shorter papers, students are generally advised to avoid using cover pages.  Students should check with the instructor if no specific instructions are given or if they are unclear on the guidelines for the biology coursework paper.

Although a well-thought-out title is important, the majority of instructors agree that the most important component of a biology courseworks paper is the thesis statement.  Far too many learners have no idea what a thesis statement is.  In short, a main argument is generally one sentence which, stated at the end of the introduction to the project, tells the reader the position, or the point-of-view, of the writer.  

Knowing how to form a thesis statement is integral to academic writing, which strives to present a point, and then to proceed to argue that point in order to either convince the reader that the point is valid, or to present the point as credible for further discussion.  As part of any biology coursework paper, the thesis statement is the point which leads and guides the remainder.  Without a well-formed thesis statement, the rest of the report often falls flat.



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Viewpoint of Author #5
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All college or university coursework, even AS biology coursework, requires that students display a sound understanding of course concepts and information.  An instructor gauges a student's level of understanding, and preparedness for further study in the subject, in one of two ways.  First, instructors test students on their knowledge of the information presented in the course through testing and quizzes.  Second, instructors employ the use of term papers and research papers to not only gauge what a student has learned, but to encourage further study into the topic.

AS biology coursework is intense yet enjoyable for most pupils.  However, AS biology courseworks are never such that a student can let himself or herself fall behind.  Unlike some other topics, AS biology courseworks can rarely be understood after neglecting the course.  This is why many instructors have strict attendance requirements for their courses.  A student should never assume that he or she will be able to understand the subject matter presented in an AS biology courseworks class unless he or she devotes the time and attention necessary to learn what the instructor has identified as pertinent to the topic.

In addition to strict attendance in the AS biology coursework class, a student must ensure that he or she has a full grasp of the material.  It is easy to fall behind when struggling with a lack of comprehension.  Students often find it somewhat embarrassing to admit that they don't understand the AS biology courseworks materials that other students might find easy to follow.  Every student learns differently.  Some students are naturally great learners.  Others need a little more help when it comes to understanding technical or scientific information.  There is no harm in asking for additional help from the instructor or from a fellow student when the material becomes overwhelming.  Failure to do so can place a student significantly behind and may result in a poor grade in the class.

AS biology coursework success requires a great deal of study time.  In general, as student should spent four times the number of in-class hours on study.  Most students who find themselves unprepared for exams or who are performing poorly in general, can link their lack of satisfactory performance to a lack of sufficient study time.  There is definitely a correlation between good grades in AS biology coursework and a dedication to study.  Students really do have to earn their grades.



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Viewpoint of Author #6
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Students enrolled in a biology course or students who are majoring in biology will have to explore many different options for biology research paper topics.  For example, some biology topics might require learners to research human biology.  Other biology topics might focus on micro biology of single-cell organisms.  Regardless of the biology topic, learners should follow the same basic process to researching and writing their biology research paper.

When it comes to topics related to science, students may need to use multiple methods to research their topic.  For example, students may need to read about a topic in a book.  Other students may need to interview experts.  Some students may also benefit by performing experiences.  A research papers biology research, therefore, can encompass many different methods.  

In order for students to choose the reports biology methods that best suit the particular topic, students need to develop a plan of approach.  However, in order to develop the plan of approach, learners will need to know at least some basic information about the topic that they are researching.  Therefore, to begin a biology research paper plan, learners should investigate the topic.  

Once a student has investigated the topic, it may help for him or her to develop a list of queries that he or she hopes to answer through the research.  For example, if the student needs to write a research paper on the topic of creationism and its biological implications, then students may want to think about questions that they have related to creationism.  For example, a student might wonder why there is a variance in hair color amongst children that have the same parents and grandparents.  

The student can then develop his or her assignment biology research plan that will specifically address those questions.  To answer the questions, students may interview geneticists, develop multi-generational family charts, research Darwin's original theories, research opposing theories, and more.  

It is easy to confuse a biology research paper assignment with a scientific report.  After all, a report and a scientific report both require that students research a topic that is directly related to science and provide a detailed report about that topic.  Also, if a student performs an experiment as part of the research for a report, the distinction can be blurred.

However, a reference report is focused more on research.  An experiment may support that research, but an experiment is not a requirement of a college report.  On the other hand, a scientific report is a document that a learner will create specifically to address an experiment that he or she performed.  Therefore, a scientific report may or may not contain a large degree of information, but it will contain a summary of the experiment and results.



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Viewpoint of Author #7
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Regularly, as part of biology coursework, learners will be required to write a reference project.  Beginning as early as high school, learners should be able to put together a sound reference project.  However, as biology coursework varies according to the focus of the course and the grade level of the student, the requirements for the course research paper will be different from course to course.

As is the case in the writing of any report, reports written as biology courseworks must contain several basic components.  These components include:

  • a format which includes an introduction, a body, and a conclusion;
  • a solid hypothesis statement;
  • sound and credible research.

Lower-level biology course instructors will likely provide students with a topic on which to write.  Upper-level and college course instructors may allow students to select their own topic within a range of topics, or allow free-form selection at the complete discretion of the pupil.  Regardless of the topic, any report completed as biology coursework will likely require a well-formed title.  Some instructors might even assign a certain percentage of the grade points for the document to the creation of the title.  Paper titles for academic reports should never be inflammatory or offensive and should give the reader a good idea of the contents.  After all, a paper which has been assigned as biology coursework is not a newspaper article or an opinion piece, but should instead be a well-presented, well-researched assignment designed to present a point and back that point with sound research and established facts.

Occasionally, learners will be required to write an opinion paper as biology coursework.  Many biology opinion papers are based on emerging trends in biology research or advances in medical technology.  The world of biology presents students with many interesting topics from which to choose.  Although an opinion paper must still rely on the sound presentation of credible facts, it gives the student the leeway to present his or her opinion as part.

Still, the writer's opinion should never encompass the entirety of any report assigned as biology coursework.  Even opinions that are based on sound facts fall short of being credible unless those facts are presented as part of the argument.  So, if a pupil writes a document that argues that stem cell research is wrong, that student should present a few well-researched, and referenced, facts within his or her assignment which support that argument.  Papers which are assigned as biology coursework and which are well-written and well-researched are more likely to receive a better grade than a paper written by a student who puts little thought and/or effort into the work.

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