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Biology 2: Component 4: Research paper

Independent Research Project

1. Setting Up Your Experiment

Set up your experiment and make sure that all of the materials needed are gathered (be sure you are using your project data book to record what you do/data you collect each day!!). Practice trials are encouraged to make sure that everything works the way it was intended. REMEMBER: It is all about consistency in how you conduct your experiment and make your measurements. You need to keep as many things the same between each treatment that you can (i.e. same device used to make measurements, measurements made the same way each day, conditions in the environment maintained as much as possible, etc.).

SEP: Planning and carrying out investigations

2. Collection of Data

Actually run your experiment and collect the necessary qualitative and quantitative data. Ensure you have a sufficient amount of trials and test subjects (if you aren’t sure, ASK). This is key!!! You want to have confidence in your results. In other words, you want to know what you observed was not by chance. You don’t flip a coin 10 times to see if it will be a 50/50 chance, you flip it 100 times or more. Also, use gradients to find trends, not just a treatment and not treatment (instead: 0%, 5%, 10%, etc.). All experiments are to be conducted AT SCHOOL. You will be given some class time to work on collecting data, but you should plan on spending some of your free time working on collection of data. The classroom will be left unlocked for you to get to your experiment. BE RESPONSIBLE! YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF TAKING CARE OF MAINTENANCE AND CLEANUP OF YOUR EXPERIMENT!

SEP: Analyzing and interpreting data

4. Abstract

FIRST DRAFT OF YOUR ABSTRACT DUE: APRIL 27, 2016

In a paragraph or two, explain the objectives of the research, how the experiment was conducted (procedure), data, the findings of the experiment, and the implications and conclusions of the experiment. Only minimal references to previous work and sources should be used. The abstract should focus on the work that was done. Include in the top left corner the title of your experiment, your name, address, and school. The abstract will be on a separate page and will not be included in your actual paper (i.e it will not be in your table of contents).

 

3. Research Paper

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FIRST DRAFT OF YOUR RESEARCH PAPER DUE: APRIL 22, 2016

SEP: Planning and carrying out investigations; Analyzing and interpreting data; Using mathematics and computational thinking; Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering); Engaging in argument from evidence; Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

 

3a. Title Page

  • Title: Your title should indicate what the experiment was about. It should be brief, yet the reader should know what your experiment was investigating based on it. Center your title in the middle of the page
  • Your name, address (you may use the school’s address), school name, and date in the bottom right corner.

3b. Table of Contents

  • Include a page number for the beginning of each section of the paper (Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion)

3c. Introduction

DRAFT INTRODUCTION DUE: APRIL 6, 2016

Set up your research project with background information and why your research is relevant. This section itself may be almost two pages in length. This will include how the observations of others relate to your research and how the information you gain can be used by others. CITE ALL YOUR SOURCES IN THE PAPER. Paraphrase your citations and avoid the use of direct quotations. ALWAYS WRITE IN THE ACTIVE VOICE AND NO FIRST PERSON!

In addition, your introduction should include:

  • Purpose of the investigation

  • Justifications for performing the experiment

  • The objectives of the lab

  • What you are trying to find or specifically what is your problem/question

  • What are the variables

    • Variables you are going to control

    • Dependent variable

    • Independent variable

  • Hypotheses (both in an “If…then…” statement). NOTE: You may have more than one hypothesis if your lab is addressing more than one question!)

3d. Materials and Methods

  • In a SHORT paragraph, summarize your experiment

  • List all safety concerns associated with the experiment

  • Include a complete materials list

  • In a numbered or bulleted format, have the correct sequence of steps and directions for your design (Remember: someone should be able to exactly replicate how you performed your experiment based on these instructions)

  • Include any diagrams or pictures of the experimental design and set up

3e. Results

Record all data and observations in correctly labeled tables

  • All values show units

  • Include graphs, figures, and tables

  • Quantitative and Qualitative data should be included

  • Show all work for your statistics (not only your t-test, but averages, percentages, or any other calculations used to support your experiment). Label everything, both what you do ad all of your units

  • Make visual displays of your results (graphs and charts for comparison). Label all axes and graphs appropriately.

3f. Discussion

Discussion:

In this section you should discuss and interpret your experimental results with regard to your hypotheses.

  • Summarize your purpose and the hypotheses.

  • Be specific and do not just summarize.

  • Explain why you accepted or rejected your hypotheses (use your statistical calculations)

  • Bring back key points from your introduction to refocus your reader and direct them to your conclusions.

  • Be thorough. Make sure your reader can follow and understand your train of thought from beginning to end.

  • Compare your results to theoretical values and expectations, published data, commonly held beliefs, and relate your results back to your research.

  • Note any limitations to your study (ex. Small sample size) and sources of error

  • Discuss variations in data collected by observations (was your data consistent) and trends that you noticed.

  • Point out any uncontrolled events and how it impacted your results

  • Include what you would do differently and future steps should this research continue.

Important Dates

DRAFT INTRODUCTION DUE: APRIL 6, 2016

FIRST DRAFT OF YOUR RESEARCH PAPER DUE: APRIL 22, 2016

FIRST DRAFT OF YOUR ABSTRACT DUE: APRIL 27, 2016

Please realize the importance of your first draft! This should be as polished as possible when submitted!) Begin working on the visual aspects of your class presentation.

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