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illustrate to you how to trace the progress of a topic in molecular biology and/or biotechnology over time as well as to introduce you to scientific writing.

The format of the term paper is a historical review based on three to four primary research articles. The purpose of this assignment is to illustrate to you how to trace the progress of a topic in molecular biology and/or biotechnology over time as well as to introduce you to scientific writing. To do this, you’ll follow the research from a landmark primary research article to an important article published in the last two years (2016-2018). Each of the articles published between the landmark article and the current article should demonstrate the progression of the scientific idea in the selected topic. The format of the term paper is very specific, and is probably not a format you have used in the past. It is designed to help you think about how scientific ideas build on each other. You can select a landmark primary research article from the list provided, or you can choose your own, but this landmark article must be approved. You are responsible for identifying the primary research articles that progress from the landmark article. No clinical or epidemiology articles are allowed. The articles should focus on molecular biology and not cell biology or physiology. You will be graded on your introduction, description of each primary research article, the transitions between them, and your conclusion, as described below.

 

First assignment – outline/summary of your term paper

This is mainly the transitions between the articles. Each transition should be about two to three complete sentences, and be formatted as its own paragraph. You should also include a brief summary of what each article added to the topic. The summary should be only a sentence or two at this point. Write these sentences as a short paragraph between each transition paragraph. Include the reference section at the end. The assignment should be double-spaced, and include a header at the top with your name and the number of words in your outline/summary. Attach the first page (or abstract) of each of the articles you have selected behind your references section.

 

 

Second assignment - rough draft

The rough draft should include a title page that includes a working title for your paper, your name, the word count and the list of key sentences. The draft itself should contain (double spaced):

  • an introductory paragraph
  • one to two paragraphs describing the first primary research article
  • a transition paragraph describing how the first primary article led to the second primary research article
  • the second through third or fourth primary research article summary paragraphs with transitions between descriptions of each article
  • a conclusion paragraph.

 

In addition you must have a reference page that includes the complete citations for articles.  Also include the first page or abstract of the three to four main articles. Organize your references alphabetically by the last name of the first author or use the numbering system. Staple the draft, the reference page and the abstracts behind the title page.

           

The introductory paragraph should indicate the topic of your paper, why it is important and an overview of the progression of research that you will discuss. This is a formal paper. It is not appropriate to include personal stories in a formal paper. The significance of the material you discuss should be of general interest, not why you personally are interested in the topic. This is a section where you may want to refer to articles in addition to your major primary research articles. The citations of these additional references, which may include review articles, articles on diseases related to your topic, or epidemiological findings, should be listed in the references. The introductory section should also lay out the progression that you will discuss so the reader knows what to expect. This is not the time to write suspense.

 

For the description of each primary research article include:

Why the research was done. Gap and or objective.

Major results and how they were obtained (what type of experiment)

Conclusions/Take home message

This description will be shorter than the summary previously written. Include only the major findings of each article.

 

Between the paragraphs describing the relevant results from each primary research article write a transition paragraph. The easiest and best way to do this is to describe what questions were left unanswered by the previous article that will be answered by the next article. These transition paragraphs will be shorter than the descriptive paragraphs, but they are critically important because they explain how the articles are related to make a story. Writing good transitions will also demonstrate that you understand the progression of science.

 

For the conclusion paragraph you should reiterate the importance of the topic you have selected. Then describe the progression of the articles. Wrap up with your conclusion of where the field is and, if possible, suggest what should be done next. Your paper should be between 1600 and 2000 words, equivalent to 5 to 7 double spaced typed pages.

 


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