One of the most critical advances in science today is the ability to rapidly share scientific information. Noting since the advent of the mass printing afforded by the printing press and movable type has quite affected scientific advancement like the Internet. Daily huge volumes of information is added to the already vast amount of information already available to us through the Internet. Much of this information is of is sound and well founded in scientific principal. There are also significant amounts of unsubstantiated claims and conjecture mixed in to lure your imagination into realm of pure fiction. It is therefore incumbent upon the student of science to gain so basic skills in scientific method and writing. With these skills it will become much easier to critically evaluate the work of others. From my observation the majority of publications of a scientific nature conform more closely to the Modern Language Association's (MLA) format for scientific publication. A very nice tutorial in MLA has been prepared by Capital Community college. Since standardization enhances credibility of published works I will expect all research assignments to be prepared in the MLA format. If you find writing for a college course challenging please utilize the Writing Guide to get you on the right track.
You should select your topic carefully as you should expect to invest a large amount of energy in study and preparation of this paper. It is much more enjoyable if you are studying a topic you find enjoyable and interesting.
UMUC offers you a wonderful collection of information databases covering essentially every imaginable topic. I encourage you to visit the UMUC on-line Library Home Page for information and instruction on these resources.
Use the example below for the basic format of all assignments completed outside of class. No folder or separate cover page is used. For areas not covered in the example follow the MLA guidelines. I have modified a sample paper retrieved from AccessScience (one of the databases available through the UMUC on-line library) to better illustrate the desired format. If you can not open it you can down load for free.
The following guidelines are used in evaluating research papers.
Format 5 %
Adhering to the example and MLA guidelines.
Generally in 3rd person and clearly condensing the entire work into less than 120 words. It should introduce the paper, review the content and give the conclusion.
Clearly stating the purpose and method of the work.
The body is evaluated on the flow of the text and in the way it objectively supports the title and introduction. Is the paper presented in an objective manner? Is there adequate material and credible references to support the conclusions?
Conclusion 10 %
Should tell the reader what they have learned from reading the paper.
English 10 %
Sentence structure, spelling, and grammar.
For further information on preparing your paper I recommend you review "Writing Research Papers in Biology" by Wade B. Worthen.
Plagiarism may result in a failing grade for the paper. I recommend you review the material provided by the UMUC on-line library plagiarism or a similar site provided by Indiana University.
Here is a list of some potential topics related to biology and ecology.