Project #24405 - URGENT HELP



  Titles can often tempt the instructor to read a student’s paper first.  Constructing a title is a careful balance between being thorough and concise in one sentence.  Indicating content in a title can involve the independent and dependent variables, or the larger implications of the experiment’s purpose.

Introduction Section

In general the introduction should have two informal “parts”.  The first “part” offers background information that builds to the hypothesis.  The information offered in this section can come from class notes, collaboration with lab partners, or library research, which should be cited and referenced.  Usually, this part of the intro culminates in the hypothesis.  The hypothesis is a clear statement that uses the information previously offered.  Prose such as: “we think,” or “the hypothesis was,” or “it is expected” is not necessary if the previous information is direct in providing support for the hypothesis.  The hypothesis is not a shot in the dark.  A hypothesis is an educated guess and should be easily justified by the observations, or research conducted in the first step of the scientific method.

The second “part” of the introduction has to do with justifying the experimental design.  Explaining how the experiment is a good test of the hypothesis usually involves a brief summary of the experiment with a clear justification as to why the dependent variable is a good indicator for this experiment.  Example: Joe wants to find out how many birds nest in the backyard.  He counts the nests instead of counting the number of prickly pear cactus plants since birds use nests for laying eggs and not prickly pear cactus plants.  A clear prediction as to what will happen to the dependent variable as the independent variable varies.  The prediction is an extension of the hypothesis and is specific to the experiment’s dependent variable.  The conclusion of the introduction section should make a smooth transition to the following Methods section by indicating what the reader will see there.

Classic example:

Hypothesis: Gravity exists.

Prediction: This apple will fall to the ground if I drop it off the table.

BIO121 example:

Hypothesis: Increasing temperature will increase reaction rates.

Prediction: As the incubation temperature of a urease and urea solution rises from 4°C to 55°C the pH will increase.

Prediction: As the incubation temperature of a yeast and sucrose solution rises from 4°C to 55°C the mL of CO2 produced will increase.


Methods Section

A focus on the audience is key for the material and methods section.  How much detail to include?  The audience is another class member, or your future self.  Provide only information specific to this experiment, relying on the knowledge from previous classes.  Including wordy description of procedures all students have performed (ex: serial dilutions) may not be necessary.  Only information important to repeat the experiment is important (ex: whether the tubes are labeled A B C D or 1 2 3 4 is not important).  Prioritizing the details of the methods section forces a concise description of the methods. 

Students can and should work from a list, but the materials should not be listed in the paragraphs.  The list should be used to make sure that all materials have been included in this section and have been described correctly as to the procedure used for each.  When describing materials, units are essential (volumes, weights, concentrations, temperature, time intervals and overall time).

The control treatment is usually defined in this section as a treatment of the independent variable. 

The methods section, like the introduction section, has two informal “parts.”  The first “part” involves describing the procedure used to create the variations of the independent variable.  The researcher is able to manipulate the independent variable and creates treatments of the variable.   The second “part” of the methods section describes the collection of data for the dependent variable.  Data analysis is essential for concluding the materials and methods section.  Calculations, statistics, specific graphing techniques (ie: pie charts or frequency distributions) are identified in this section.  The conclusion of the methods section should transition to the next Results section by telling the reader what they should expect to see there.

Results Section:

Results sections include graphs inserted into the text of the paper and mentioned by figure number and name in the text.  This is the traditional publishing format and draws the reader to the visual displays.  The graph’s purpose is to summarize the raw data.  Repeating or listing specific data values in the text is unnecessary if the correct graphical presentation has been used. Including a data table in the rough draft of a paper is important to allow the instructor to interpret mistakes made in graphing.  The table may not be necessary for the final draft if the graph is complete.

Example: The following text is best included as a graph.

The glucose solution was at 1 mL at 5 minutes, 3 mL at 10 minutes, 5 mL at 15 minutes, and 5 mL at 20 minutes.  The sucrose solution was at 1.2 mL at 5 minutes, 2.6 mL at 10 minutes, 3 mL at 15 minutes, and 5 mL at 20 minutes.  The molasses solution was at 0.7 mL at 5 minutes, 2.3 mL at 10 minutes, 2.6 mL at 15 minutes, and 4.7 mL at 20 minutes. The splenda solution was at 1.7 mL at 5 minutes, 2 mL at 10 minutes, 3 mL at 15 minutes, and 4 mL at 20 minutes.  The galactose solution was at 0.1 mL at 5 minutes, 0.1 mL at 10 minutes, 0.1 mL at 15 minutes, and 0.2 mL at 20 minutes.


Allowing the graph to present the individual data points frees the text to analyze trends.  The text of the results should run parallel to the discussion and only present the data that will alter be interpreted in the discussion.  Like the omission of a materials list, the results section should not be a list of data, but a concise presentation of only the most important data for interpretation in the next section.  Comparisons and trends are best presented in the text and complimented with specific values of both the independent and dependent variables. 

Often, it is tempting to interpret data in this section.  While working up a rough draft, including complete statements about the data is useful.  However, interpretations must be then edited and removed to the discussion section, leaving the results section as a concise summary of only the data points that will be interpreted in the next section.

Example: Tube S had more CO2 than Tube G because the temperature increased the reaction rate.

Correction: When exposed to the yeast, the galactose solution produced a maximum of 0.2 mL of CO2 in 20 minutes while the glucose solution produced 5 mL in 15 minutes, exceeding the measurement limitations of the fermentation tube.

Extracted to discussion section:  The galactose was not usable by the yeast, as evidenced by the 0.2 mL total CO2 production in that treatment whereas the glucose was used at a fast rate as indicated by the 5 mL CO2 production in that treatment before the maximum duration of the experiment.  Although both monosaccharides, these substances have different shapes, which may determine the yeasts’ ability to use the molecule in the process of fermentation.


Common pitfalls of the graph (illustrated above):

·         Title is not descriptive enough to indicate the entire content of the experiment.  Ask the student to use the word fermentation in their title.

·         Printing in grayscale obscures the viewer’s ability to see the different lines on the graph.  Formatting the data series in dashed lines or using line markers, or even using a highlighter to color in the lines on the final draft all help differentiate the series on the graph.

·         Axes need to be labeled with units.  This graph lacks the units for the dependent variable as only carbon dioxide is listed on the y-axis; mL units need to be included.

·         The horizontal axis has “min” in each value.  Labels should only be inserted once.  Inserting the label into each data cell in Excel makes Excel treat your data as text rather than numbers and is repetitive.

·         The series are not labeled correctly as the treatments of the independent variable.  With the lack of detail in the title, this graph could be about variable sources or variable concentrations of one source. 

Discussion Section

Like the introduction and methods sections, the discussion section has two “parts.”  The first “part” interprets all data offered in the results section.  Without a clear outline from the results section, a discussion becomes difficult.  This part should be an in-depth exploration of how the data supports (or not, as the case may be) the hypothesis. 

The second “part” of the discussion has to do with analyzing the experimental design.  Whether or not the experiment has supported the hypothesis, there is always room for improvement.  At least three error sources should be fully investigated.  This investigation includes: identification, analysis of how the results would have affected, and suggestions to eliminate the error source.  Analyzing sources of error culminates with a suggestion of the next investigation that could further knowledge on the general subject.  This should not just be a readjustment of this experiment, but a suggestion to further science beyond the classroom.

Example of incorrect error analysis:
Not rotating the tubes could have skewed the results.

Improper rotation of the tubes could have exposed the yeast to oxygen.  With oxygen available, this facultative anaerobe will produce CO2 via cellular respiration rather than fermentation, decreasing the value of CO2 from that actually measured.

Conclusion Section

·         Students often struggle with the conclusion section.  This section is a summary and does not offer any new information.  This section should be a very concise summary of these points:

1.       Restatement of the hypothesis

2.       Statement of acceptance/non-acceptance of the hypothesis

3.       Specific supportive data

·         Common and incorrect statement: The hypothesis is proven by the data as shown in the graph in the results section.  Students are often tempted to say that their experiment “proves” something whereas their experimental data can only support their hypothesis.

·         The reader should never be referred back to a previous section.  The conclusion should restate the hypothesis clearly and summarize only the most important data to supporting their conclusion on the hypothesis.

·         When grading papers, graphs and conclusion sections are clear representations of a student’s attention to detail and basic understanding of their experiment.


_________Typed, double spaced, pages numbered

_________Sections separated with bold and underlined headers

_________Descriptive title indicates content

_________Graphs and Tables included in text with figure titles

_________Cited references and in-text citations in CSE format

_________ No use of 1st or 2nd person, written completely in past tense



Tips on CSE formatting

  •  All scientific names (genus and species) must be italicized. (Underlining indicates italics in a typed paper.)  In biology, each living organism has been classified using a scientific name of two words, usually derived from Greek or Latin roots.  The scientific name of a species is formed by the combination of two terms: the first name is capitalized and is the genus of the organism, the second is not capitalized and is the species of the organism. 

Examples:           Homo sapiens

                                Felis catus

                                Euglena gracilis

                                Lactobacillus bulgaricus

                                Streptococcus thermophilus

                                Saccharomycetes sp. 

Once the full scientific name of the organism has been referenced, the genus can be abbreviated in future references: H. sapiens. 

  • Be aware of capitalization and abbreviation rules for scientific terms and measurements. 

Examples:           pH

                                mL (milliliters)

·         Be aware that the word data is plural while datum is singular. This affects the choice of a correct verb. The word species is used both as a singular and as a plural.  The plural of genus is genera.

  • Capitalize the names of taxonomic groups (clades) above the level of the genus, but not the names of the taxonomic categories themselves.  For examples, insect belong to the phylum Arthropoda and the class Insecta.  Do not capitalize informal names of animals: insects are arthropods, members of the phylum Arthropoda.
  • Use the metric system of measurements. Abbreviations of units are used without a following period.

Measurement category                                Metric                                   Do not use

Length                                                  meter                                   inches, feet, yards, miles

Volume                                                                liter                                        teaspoon, tablespoon, cup, gallon

Weight                                                 gram                                      ounces, pounds

Temperature                                     Celsius                                  Fahrenheit

Tips on Grammar

  • Avoid using the first person, I or we, in writing. Keep your writing impersonal, in the third person. Instead of saying, "We weighed the frogs and put them in a glass jar," write, "The frogs were weighed and put in a glass jar."

First person words that should not be used:

I    me    my    mine    we    us    our 

Second person words that should not be used:

You   your   yours

  • Avoid using the second person, you, in writing.  Keep writing descriptive and not commands or directives.  Although the word “you” is not in the next sentence, it is the unsaid subject: “Weigh the frogs and put them in a glass jar.”  This sentence should be corrected as in the previous example.
  • Numbers should be written as numerals when they are greater than ten or when they are associated with measurements; for example, 6 mm or 2 g but two explanations of six factors. When one list includes numbers over and under ten, all numbers in the list may be expressed as numerals; for example, 17 sunfish, 13 bass, and 2 trout. Never start a sentence with numerals. Spell all numbers beginning sentences.

·         Divide paragraphs correctly and use starting and ending sentences that indicate the purpose of the paragraph. A report or a section of a report should not be one long paragraph.

  • Every sentence must have a subject and a verb.
  • Avoid the use of slang and the overuse of contractions.
  • Be consistent in the use of tense throughout a paragraph--do not switch between past and present. It is best to use past tense.
  • Pronouns must refer to antecedents. For example, in the statement, "Sometimes caterpillars are in cherry trees but they are hard to find," does "they" refer to caterpillars or trees?
  • Only pronouns should be capitalized.


Word processing tips

·         Inserting symbols: Choose insert from the menu toolbar.  Choose symbol.  Find the °.  Choose it, insert it, and close the insert window.

·         Inserting page numbers: Choose insert from the menu toolbar.  Choose page numbers. 

·         Inserting graphs from Excel: Highlight the graph in Excel, choose copy.  Place the cursor in the Word document where the graph will be inserted.  Choose paste.


Subject Science
Due By (Pacific Time) 03/06/2014 011:00 am
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