In all sections of the paper, present tense should be used to report background that is already established. For example, “The cell membrane is the barrier which separates the inside of the cell from the outside. ” Use future tense for work that you will do. For example, “This experiment will test the hypothesis that some anti-microbial agents can permeate the cell membrane during division to inhibit growth. ” Use past tense to describe the methods (what you did) and results of your experiment.
A “Table of Contents” is not necessary. Use a regular font such as Ariel or Times New Roman at 12 size font and double spaced. HEADINGS Headings show organization and identify the topic for a section or a block of information. Capital letters, underlining, point size, and position on the page help to differentiate rank or level. For example, note how the headings of this document are uppercase and bolded. Use headings for the main sections: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, and Literature Cited. TITLE PAGE
Your name, date, and title of the paper should be on a cover page, and not on any other part of the paper. Your title should be specific in describing the experiment you performed. For example, “Effects of a Variety of Anti-microbial Agents on Four Bacterial Cultures” is much more interesting than just “Anti-microbial Agents”. In other words, “Pond Water” is not specific enough. ABSTRACT: A paragraph summary of the paper. See lab manual for more directions. INTRODUCTION Keep the introduction brief, but do present appropriate background nformation as well as indicate the purpose of the experiments performed. Make sure that the reader knows enough to appreciate the relevance of the work and why it is appropriate to ask the question that you will address with your study. Always state the hypothesis/prediction in your introduction. Steps for Introduction: 1. What is a pond? 2. What types of organisms can live in a pond? a. e. g. Green algae are common inhabitants of ponds (author, date). b. Just list a few organisms from each group. 3. What factors determine which organisms will live in a specific pond? a.
Dissolved oxygen levels and pH levels are important factors that limit which species can survive in different ponds (author, date). 4. Purpose of the experiment and statement of the question and hypothesis – e. g. This experiment was conducted to see how the chemical and physical properties of a pond can determine the organisms living. If dissolved oxygen levels remain high then organisms will thrive in pond water. 5. There should be a lot of references to sources in this section (examples in steps 2 and 3). 6. There’s some info in the back of your lab manual that might apply here. MATERIALS AND METHODS
You must document all methods performed in your study. Do not, under any circumstances, report methods word-for-word from any of the written sources you used. You need to summarize, in your own words, what you did. Also, do not give unneeded detail. For example, instead of “I took up a drop of pond water from a 5 ml tube with a 2 ml plastic pipette and expelled it onto the surface of a microscope slide”, write “Wet mount slides containing one drop of pond water were made. ” We can also see that in this latter sentence passive voice was used to report methods, a standard for most scientific publications.
To give another example, one would write “Cultures were maintained at 37°C. ” instead of “We grew the cultures at 37°C. “. Steps for Materials and Methods: 1. List the materials used. 2. When, where and how did you collect the sample? 3. How was the sample stored for the duration of the experiment? a. E. g. Pond water samples were stored under grow lights at ambient temperature in the biology lab for the duration of the experiment. 4. What measurements did you take every week and how did you do it? 5. How did you monitor changes in the organisms over time? 6.
You can reference your lab manual, but there won’t be other references. RESULTS This section includes the results of your experiments. Present your data both in written form, e. g. “The dissolved oxygen concentrations decreased from 12 to 6 mg/l (Table 1)” and in figure and/or table form. You must include your data chart in your report. Tables must have legends, “e. g. Table 1. Dissolved Oxygen Concentrations”, which go at the top of the table. Figures (graphs, charts, pictures) must have legends, e. g. “Figure 1. Bar graph showing weekly dissolved oxygen levels” which go at the bottom of the figure.
Do not draw conclusions in the results section. Reserve any data interpretation for the discussion. Steps: 1. Tables and/or Figures of the chemical data, qualitative and quantitative 2. Tables and/or Figures of the organism data 3. AND a written description of the data… e. g. The chlorine levels increased from x to y over the five weeks of the experiment (Table 1). or… In week 4 there was an increase in the amount of cyanobacteria (Figure 1). 4. Whenever you refer to a piece of data in the text, indicate which figure or table it can be found in. 5. No references. DISCUSSION
Interpret your data in the discussion. Decide if each hypothesis is supported, rejected, or if you cannot make a decision with confidence. Do not simply dismiss a study or part of a study as “inconclusive”. Make what conclusions you can, then suggest how the experiment must be modified in order to properly test the hypothesis(es). Explain all of your observations as much as possible, focusing on what caused them. 1. Try to figure out why you saw the changes that occurred in the chemical properties (e. g. The decrease in pH was possible due to the decomposition of dead organic matter. 2. You can discuss specific characteristics of the organisms you found and why you think they survived or did not survive in your pond. 3. Although we did not measure dissolved oxygen, you should discuss it if you think it was important in your experiment. 4. Make suggestions for future modifications to an experiment 5. Decide whether to accept or reject each hypothesis. LITERATURE CITED You must include at least three references in your paper. You must include at least the first page of each reference with your final paper.
You must cite those references in the body of the paper wherever you have included information from them. Literature citations in the body of your paper should be in parentheses and contain only the author’s last name and the date. For multiple authors include the last name of the first author, et al. , and the date. If the author’s name is used in the text then just the date in parentheses is sufficient. …(Monod, 1949). …(Neidhardt et al. , 1990). Monod (1949) compared the reaction….. List all literature cited in your report in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author in a separate section.
Use the proper form for citations. For scientific papers: Monod, J. 1949. The growth of bacterial cultures. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 3:371-394.?? For a book: Neidhardt, F. C, Ingraham, J. L. and. Schaechter, M. 1990. Physiology of the Bacterial Cell. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA.?? For a newspaper article: McKay, D. 2000. Arsenic: how much is safe? Albuquerque Journal. July 30, 2000, p. A1.?? For a web site: National Research Council. 1999. Arsenic in drinking water. Subcommittee on Arsenic in Drinking Water. http://www4. nationalacademies. rg/news. nsf/isbn/030906337? OpenDocument.? They can be web-based, but you should give the complete reference and use only reputable sites (sorry, no Wikipedia and . com websites) – look for . edu and . gov sites. You can use . org if it’s an unbiased site. Points: 10 pts – Overall aesthetics, grammar, scientific format5 pts – Figures or charts of results 10 pts – Abstract and Introduction10 pts – Discussion and Conclusion 5 pts – Materials and Methods5 pts – Literature Cited 5 pts – Written results-5 pts – Late per DAY (NOT per class)