Bio Research Topic
To find the sources go to http://library.sbcc.edu
The primary goal of science is to understand our natural world. Individual researchers communicate their findings in
scientific journals and enhance this knowledge base. This project will introduce you to the arena of scientific
publications. One of the first steps in learning about a topic is to accumulate knowledge about it and to critically
assess the information that is published. There have been many ideas in science, once believed to be true that were
challenged and dismissed as new data and new interpretations of existing data led to a different understanding. The
goal of this project is to have you explore a subject area in plant biology, search through the scientific literature and
summarize your findings in the form of a review paper.
The focus of this project is to search through the original research material in the scientific literature. There are a
few different types of papers written in science. One type is a primary research paper where original work is
presented to the scientific community. In this kind of paper there is an abstract, an introductory section, a
description of materials and methods employed, a results section, and a conclusion. This is the classic format for a
paper in which researchers discuss the results of their work.
Another type of paper is the review paper where a summary of existing work is presented as a synthesis of current
knowledge. In this paper, authors search the literature, gather information on a topic, and then put together that
information to present what is known about a subject or, in some cases, to present a new and novel way of
understanding a topic. It is the review paper that we are concerned with in this class. I want you to read primary
research articles and write a review article about the information that you have gathered. Do NOT use review
papers as sources for your paper.
Scientific journals are refereed, meaning that professional scientists examine the papers critically to see if they merit
publication. Unlike a blog or tweet, peer reviewed articles must meet accepted criteria for publication and are
closely scrutinized. There are some variations in the way that scientific papers are written and those depend on the
editorial style of the journal to which the work is submitted. There are online sources and print material that describe
the process in more detail of how to write a paper in science but all that you should need to know will be presented
Papers detailing scientific experiments and review papers submitted for publication have very specific guidelines.
The body of your paper should be no less than 1500 words. The citation page at the end of your paper is not part of
the 1500 word limit. When you submit your paper just submit the final copy. Do not submit rough draft copies.
Material in your paper needs correct citations. You will numerically site your references in the body of your paper
beginning your citations with number one and listing your citations sequentially by number (1, 2, 3, etc.). Your
citation page will also reflect this numerical pattern. Do NOT list your sources alphabetically. If you cite a work
more than once (for example you cite it as “4” on page one and then use the same citation on page three) you simply
use the same number (4) both times. If you re-order your paper (change things around) make sure that you renumber
your citations, if necessary.
You are to select an academic topic from the provided list. Do not wait until the last minute to do this. You should
cite at least 7 articles from professional science journals that cover your topic. Do not have more than two citations
from any particular journal.
Science writing is different from standard journalism and tends to be less flashy and uses fewer literary devices. Stay
away from phrases like “Did you know…?” and avoid undocumented or generalized statements such as: “Experts
say,” “They have found,” “A study was done,” or “It is a documented fact that….”
The excitement in scientific writing is generally based on the elegance of the discovery. Your writing must be clear,
free of spelling errors, and grammatically correct. Make sure that you write scientific names in the appropriate
format – genus name (first letter capitalized), specific epithet (all lower case), both are underlined or italicized (e.g.
Grevillea robusta or Grevillea robusta). I want you to follow the format of scientific names in the citation page as
well. Even if the title of your citation does not put the scientific name in the correct format I want you to do so in
Prepositions: Common prepositions are words like, of, to and in. The relate one noun in a sentence to another word
such as “The bird flew into the tree.” You may have heard that it is not proper to end a sentence with a preposition.
That antiquated rule can be disregarded in this class. In the words of Winston Churchill “That is nonsense up with
which I shall not put.”
Other stuff: Watch out for homonyms (words that sound the same or are spelled the same but have different
meanings such as two, to, and too or their and there). You may not catch them in spell checkers. Also, spell checkers
do not correct for a misuse of a word. If you type “form” instead of “from” you will have a sentence that makes no
sense, or not the sense you wanted, so read your paper closely.
Cite specific material with appropriate references. Since you did not do the experiment yourself, you must cite
where you got the information. If you use numerical data you must cite the source or sources where you got the
information. Presentation of material that is of a general nature should be able to stand on its own and not need a
citation. If information is common knowledge for a college-educated person then it does not need to be documented.
If several authors stated the same thing then cite all of the papers.
Beware of anthropomorphisms – These are human traits invested in non-human things. The comment that “plants
want to absorb water” implies that plants have feelings or desires. Plants do not “prefer” sunlight or shade but rather
are shade-tolerant plants or shade-adapted plants.
Plagiarism is the copying of someone’s work without giving them proper credit. It is taking a person’s intellectual
property and presenting it as your own. Therefore it is stealing. Not only is it wrong, but it will earn you a zero on
your assignment. Changing a word or two in a sentence is still intellectual theft, so do not do that. Your writing must
be a synthesis of ideas that you present in your own words. Do not use quotations in your paper.
Due Date: Turn your paper both in hard copy and electronic copy (Turnitin.com) no later than Friday, Mar 23,
2018 at 2:00 p.m. No papers will be accepted for credit after this deadline. This is the Friday before Spring
There are 100 points possible for the paper. Papers will be graded on the following criteria:
Appropriate topic and appropriate sources: Topics must be primarily botanical in nature and all of your sources
must be from primary research articles and not from review articles.
Format: (as per this guide). The hard copy paper must have standard font (such as 10 point Times New Roman,
Courier, Ariel), all margins no more than 1 inch wide and no less than 0.5 inches. Text spacing should be 1.5 – 2
lines. Do not put in internal headers such as “Introduction” “Conclusion” in the body of your paper.
Length: Each paper must be a minimum of 1500 words long (not including citations or title page). Points will be
deducted for papers that are less than 1500 words in length.
Review: You should have two people review your paper before you submit it. On the title page you need to put the
names of your reviewers under the heading “Reviewed by:”
Late Submission: No credit will be given for papers submitted after the deadline so make sure that you have your
electronic copies submitted to Turnitin.com and your hard copy submitted to me BEFORE the deadline.
No Submission: If you do not submit your paper to Turnitin.com it will result in a zero for the assignment.
Plagiarism: Points will be deducted for plagiarism. Number of points deducted may vary depending on the
significance of the infraction. It is possible to lose all points for the assignment. If you are unsure about what
plagiarism is, look it up.
Citations: Lack of citations or few citations (less than 7) will result in loss of points. At least two of your sources
should be current (within the last 10 years). Newspapers, blogs, social science journals, student papers, general
science books (including your text book), pay-to-publish journals, or encyclopedias (online such as Wikipedia,
Encyclopedia Brittanica, or print), my lectures, are NOT acceptable sources. Cite your sources each time you use
them. You may cite a source multiple times in the paper and you may use several source citations for the same data
if all of the papers have that information in them. The foundation of your paper is based on the quality and quantity
of your references and, like a house foundation, if these are weak or lacking the remainder of the structure of the
house is in jeopardy. This will result in a low score on your paper. Do not use the same journal for more than 2 of
Quality of Writing: Papers that lack clarity, synthesis, focus, depth, or have poor English usage will be marked
How to Find Articles
Many journals are online and you can search for them at the SBCC Luria Library at http://library.sbcc.edu. You may
find articles that are a century old, so limit your search to more recent sources unless it is a seminal article for your
review. It is perfectly fine to use encyclopedias to get an idea of your topic. You just cannot use them as sources for
your paper. For example, Wikipedia has entries for many topics and at the end of the articles there are frequently
references to the topic. Do some detective work and look at their sources to see if they come from primary research
journals. If they do then you can go to those articles and use them as original sources. You need to do some
detective work to find good articles. Use scientific names to search for material, If you like an article from a
particular author then search for the author’s name along with a subject name and see if it leads to more articles.
The Citation Format for this paper will follow the American Medical Association (AMA) style. Do not use a citation
generator. Here is a checklist for each citation. The citations should run linearly. See examples following.
First author’s last name
Author’s first initial
Second author’s last name
Second author’s first initial(s)
Title of article
Journal name in italics (if an article)
Year of publication
Issue number in parentheses
Inclusive page numbers (if it is a journal article)
1. Lohse K, Frantz LA. Neandertal admixture in Eurasia confirmed by maximum likelihood analysis of three
genomes. Genetics 2014;196 (4):1241–1251.
2. Navarro P, Chambers I, Karwacki-Neisius V, et al. Molecular coupling of Xist regulation and pluripotency.
Science 2008; 321 (5896):1693-1695. .
Other Citation Stuff:
Cited works are numbered in order of initial appearance in the text (1,2,3, etc.) and appear in the Citation Page in
numerical order (1,2,3, etc.). Your citations should be in parentheses in the body of your paper.
Authors’ names are inverted, and use only initials for first and middle names. No periods between initials.
In article titles, only the first word, proper nouns, and abbreviations that are ordinarily capitalized are capitalized.
Use accepted abbreviations of journal names.
For journals, use issue numbers in parentheses after the volume number. If there is no issue number specify month
before the year.
For more than 6 authors us “et al.” after the third author.
Do not add the web address after your citation. Appropriate sources come from scientific societies and should have a
journal name. Do not list clearing-houses as your source. Sites such as JSTOR, PubMed, etc. are not the names of
the journal articles. Stay away from .com sites as well.
Poor citation pages can cost you 10-15% of your grade. Likewise few sources will also be detrimental to your grade.
If, for example, you list 4 sources and not 7 your grade will probably start around 60% maximum. You might
consider having at least 10 citations. If one is not appropriate I will see that you have others to make up for that.
Scientists, in the best possible way, should try to minimize prejudice in their work. One way to decrease it is to
present work in a forum where others can evaluate, critique, and challenge the conclusions of the research in
question. This is done through peer-reviewed journals from scientific societies. Just as the internet is an amazing
resource for science information it also contains numerous fraudulent sites with fake or shoddy articles from pay-topublish journals. You will need to be discerning in your selection of websites for your research. Do not use any
PLOS journals or other open access journals in your paper.
As you review the material find out where it came from. Is the article published in a journal that has peer-review,
that is, are other scientists objectively and critically examining the research? What are the author’s credentials? Is
the author at an institution of higher education? Is the author employed by a business interest? Is the article written
in the author’s primary research area? Is the author widely cited by other researchers? Examine the submission page
for the journal. That will tell you whether it is a pay-to-publish journal. If the costs to the author for publication are
in the $1500 range then it is probably a pay to publish journal.
Submission of Papers
You will submit your paper both in hard copy and to Turnitin.com. This site checks your file against all other files
online obtained by submission to the site or files that they search for (such as paper mill subscription sites). You
cannot submit your paper twice so make sure that your paper is in its final form before submission.
Submit the paper to http://www.turnitin.com.
Turnitin Class ID: 17374379
To access the web site:
1. Open the Turnitin web site at http://www.turnitin.com
2. You may need to add your email address and password in the upper right corner of the home page.
3. Enter Class ID and Class Enrollment Password.
4. Submit under the assignment:
The web page accepts most word-processing formats. If it does not accept yours, you can copy your document and
paste it into the submission page at Turnitin. Make sure that you review your submission to verify that it posted
completely. Review your submission in the text area to be sure that your assignment is posted. You will receive a
digital receipt, and should receive email confirmation from Turnitin that your assignment was submitted. Make sure
that you are completely ready to submit your paper. Once it is submitted, you cannot retract it! If you get a 5-10%
plagiarism (similarity) index do not worry. Your citations will probably read as plagiarized.
Hand-in Paper Format
Your submission should have the following format.
Body of paper with Introduction, Main part of the paper, and Conclusion
The title page should look something like what is listed below. The italicized material is what you would write
specific to your paper (and you would not have it in italics).
Title of your Topic
Biology 101- Plant Biology
Santa Barbara City College
Instructor: Eric Wise
Reviewed by: _________________ and _____________________
Title of the topic – Restate your title of the topic as a header on the first page.
A paragraph that outlines your topic. You should not have an Introduction, Body, or Conclusion heading in your
Body of the paper:
The body should have the main part of the paper and then a brief summary paragraph at the end. You should
compose your article with a description in your own words about your topic. YOU MAY NOT USE QUOTATIONS
IN YOUR PAPER. Quoted material will result in a reduction in your grade.
If you are superscripting or subscripting (such as CO2) you can highlight the text in your document, go to “Format”
if you are using Microsoft Word and click on “Font” which will take you to “Effects” where you can click to
superscript of subscript. If you repeatedly use the same formatted word you can then just copy it from your text and
paste it where appropriate.
The citation page has a specific format. You have numbered your citations in the body of the text. Each number
(listed in numerical order) should be in the citation section in the format described in the citations section in this
document. Make sure that you check your web links before you hand in your paper. I have (and probably will) check
your resources and dead-links result in a lower grade on your paper.
These are common notations listed by the reader of your paper.
sn = scientific name
v = a mark that means insert something
# = space
lc = put material in lower case (and not capitals)
awk = awkward sentence or phrase
caps = capitalize the letter
cite (or source) = place your citation here
/ = eliminate
It’s = it is (and not something that belongs to it)
sp = spelling
Do NOT ask other Biology Department faculty to proof-read your papers. They have enough work to do with their
own classes. You may use the writing center and attach the paper that they give you to the final paper as one of your
Make sure that you periodically (frequently) back up your paper. Back up your paper to an external source (USB
drive, Cloud storage, etc.).