Biology as a Cross-Interdisciplinary Study Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1621 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 17  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Biology

Biology as a cross-interdisciplinary study is very broad in scope. It covers the entirety of human history as well as the study of all life on the planet Earth. As a result, it covers a very wide array of academic fields that each as many of its own independent disciplines. In understanding the study of biology, one must look at the plethora of sources of information that is both available and abundant in the study of biology. Biology as a scientific discipline can be seen in both scientific and populist terms, both sources are very important in the understanding of this discipline. The following paper will focus on what and how resources within biology are actually used. We will assess their validity based upon their credibility and support within the specific fields.

Every year there are hundreds of thousands of articles published about the field of biology. These articles can come in the form of peer-reviewed scientific journals, to popular science magazines, to books and doctoral papers published by professors and Ph.D candidates. Biology more than any other discipline has the most published research across the widest channel of distribution. The problem of with all of this biological research is that almost all of it has a particular agenda or purpose. In assessing the legitimacy of biology publications the most important thing is to ascertain who is funding and conducting the actuality of the research. Research funded through different grants, university programs or through private funding, now always have an agenda and a pre-supposition of results. Therefore, many times biological research and publications will mirror in its conclusions, the hypothesis asserted by those who fund such efforts. Dr. Henry Ramsey of the Biology Quarterly explains, "The science of biology is no longer an isolated study into the pure science, but rather an intertwining discipline that implies both traditional scientific endeavors with political savvy. As a result, the best scientists are often not the most scholastic in their orientation, but those have a flair for politics." In order to accurately identify information and sources within biology, it is necessary to understand all the differing avenues by which scientists can express their ideas and publish their research. These include journals, online-websites, forums, professional organizations, university publications, bio-medical and pharmaceutical corporations, and other venues of importance.

Although biological research is being conducted around the world through many different vehicles, both private and public, the majority of research being conducted within this field occurs within the University setting. The United States is considered the most concentrated country of intellectual biology endeavors. Several universities have had a profound impact on biology within the past two decades. Most notably the University of Chicago and the University of California, San Diego are two of the foremost University research organizations in the world. When university professors and researchers make significant discoveries or finish their research studies, they will record their research in the form of research articles on their findings. However, research published through the University system is not wholly unbiased, this is because there are several different impetuses for why and how research is conducted. University research is not blindly funded, instead they are significantly fueled by institutional or government grants provided for research. In order for university professors and researchers to gain such grants, they must frame their research in the context of specific themes and hypothesis. As a result, their research tends to be very specific and created in order to validate the claims or hypothesis of established ideas or the perspectives of those who have funded these grants. There are many different examples of this taking place within the biological arena, one such case was the expansion of Green-house gases. In the early 1990s, there was an increasing fear that the green-house affect would ultimately have a severe impact on the environment. Grants that went into supporting such research were plentiful and the majority of university professionals became interested in this research and applied for many grants on the subject. Since all of these grants had the implicit agenda of showing that the green-house effect had a profound impact on the environment, this hypothesis bore out to be true through the research conducted by biologists around the world. However, recent studies into this subject shows that research in the past decade may have been framed much differently and data interpreted in a biased fashion. However, the benefit of University research is that everything is understood and interpreted through the scientific process, which means that the statistical and empirical data collected for such research are universally accepted. As a result, the data can at times be separated from the interpretations to provide credible assumptions about whatever the theme of the research. Another important factor that contributes to the credibility of University research is that all such research is peer-reviewed. Which means that at least three other equal status researchers or professionals have read and critically assessed the research conducted? Thus, the best place to start understanding o biological topics is through peer-reviewed journals published by Universities and university professionals.

There are several types of journals about biology. The two most prominent types are peer-reviewed journals and main-stream journals. In the first case, peer reviewed journals are very scientific in nature and not suited for laymen. They are usually published by professional associations of scientists such as the American Biology Society, and the Public Library of Science. Such literature is usually published on an annual, bi-annual or monthly basis and contains articles that are written by professionals within the field that detail their research. All articles within such journals are peer-reviewed and thus have credibility because they are reviewed for accuracy. Peer reviewed journals take on two particular forms, the first are ones that discipline specific, these journals are usually published through professional associations that specialize in such arenas. For instance, the American Ecology Society publishes a monthly peer-reviewed journal on topics that have to do with ecology. Another type of peer-reviewed journals is national level journals that look at the compilation of research across a spectrum of biological disciplines. Such journals such as the one published by the Public Library of Science, tend to be a panoramic view of the biology discipline, with articles that have to do with the complete breath of research within biology in general. The PLOS Biology journal is published three times a year and is a collection of the most important research within the national trimester.

Another type of biology journal is main-stream journals for the laymen and general public. These journals such as "Popular Biology" are published as special interest magazines for the majority of laymen who are interested in biology but not within the level of scholarly research and understanding. These articles are traditionally written at a much easier reading level and thus does not contain as much scientific data as peer reviewed journals. However, main-stream journals are presented much more simply and appeal to a much larger audience and are easier to digest than other sources of information. One disadvantage of main-stream journals however is that they lack peer review, they are written by editors and writers for such magazines rather than by a diverse group of professional scientists. The result is that the information is oftentimes biased or inaccurate because they are being interpreted by more mainstream writers. Moreover, such research and articles are not reviewed by others, which mean that ultimately they are one-perspective based. As a result, main-stream publications are much better for laymen understanding for critical analysis or discovery of ideas. Main-stream journals are in effect science journals that are versed within the vocabulary of social concerns and impacts rather than discoveries.

With the advent of technology interface within the modern world, crucial information about biology can now be found through websites on… [END OF PREVIEW]

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