The writing of a biology paper could seem difficult if one lacks the basic idea of how to execute it. Many students desire to write a winning biology paper, but could not because they lack knowledge on its outline or strategy. So, carrying out proper planning before embarking on the writing will boost the quality of the writings.
So, do you have the task of writing a biology research paper and do not know how to go about it? This article would be of tremendous help in taking you through the structures, outlines, and the organizations of your writings.
What Is Biology Research Paper?
The biology research paper is a style of writing that involves the student beautifully presenting and interpreting the data generated during an investigation. This type of writing is much similar to other scientific writings but for the format it differs.
Here, the student focuses on a particular living organism discussing its anatomy, physiology, behavior, or its morphology. The student is at liberty to carry out the research, discover new pieces of evidence to back up their standpoint.
A biology research paper presents the student with the opportunity of expressing their discoveries and thoughts on a particular subject matter.
Two methods will determine the type of biology research paper that will be written. These methods are individual and universal scientific methods.
The following areas are what make up the individual scientific research paper;
- The paleontological method examines the relationship that exists between organisms that have existed from ancient times found in the deepest part of the earth.
- The genealogical method examines the genes of animals or humans in a bid to determine their characteristics or their ancestral path (origin).
- The historic method determines the relationship that exists between the facts that have been made reality over a certain time.
On the other hand, the universal scientific research paper is composed of the following aspects;
- The experimental method gives answers to question by carrying out an experiment that gives observed or numerical outcomes.
- The modeling method involves presenting a particular part of an organism, and then scientists look for pieces of evidence and discover new things based on what is presented.
- The observation method makes use of observation and measurement in particular research carried out on an object. Also, the data is then subjected to a series of observations before concluding.
Format of a biology research paper
The biology research paper is outlined depending on what type of scientific method employed. The paper should be written in such a way that the audience can quickly understand the main discoveries of the research.
Any biology paper must have the following; the title, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Literatures consulted in the research.
Writers of biology research paper should note that the table of content should not be included in their write up. The abstract, introduction, and the result should all be capitalized, centralized and the body of the heading too.
The top of the first page usually carries the title of the report. The first page has the title and the name of the writer. Also, the names of collaborators that took part in the research work should come after the name of the writer.
The title should be coined in such a way that it communicates the outcome of the findings. You should not bother having a catchy title; it should communicate your findings of the work.
This is a summary of what the biology research paper entails. The abstract usually should not be more than a paragraph and 250 words. It contains a background statement, thesis statement, anticipated outcome, sentence that describes the methods, and results, and then the final statement should be the conclusions.
Through the abstract, the audience should have a good idea of what the paper is about.
The introduction talks about the main purpose of the research work and the reason why the research was carried out. The writer can do justice by briefly talking about former work done on the work. Adequate reference should be cited.
The audience must understand why such a result is gotten and its relevance to science as a whole. The introduction must be written in a way that it is self-explanatory with the writer explaining the purpose of the paper and the problem it hopes to solve.
The concluding paragraph of the introduction should contain the thesis statement and relevant predictions.
The method clearly explains the details of the findings or the data generated. The writer must do away with unnecessary information and only focus on the details necessary to arrive at the desired outcome.
Under the method, the material used for the investigation, method of data analysis, the procedure of data generation, design of the experiment, and many more must be well explained.
Note that in the instance where standard methods are employed, ensure to make proper citation and explain if any adjustment was made. The method must be stated in the past tense. It should not follow the same process used in writing a lab manual, so the material listing should be discarded.
However, the design process of the experiment should be focused on. You should describe the factors that might affect the result of the research based on location, whether indoors or outdoors — for example, the climatic conditions, etc.
The result is where the data generated is analyzed. It is done in the past tense. The result section also points out the important and critical data, the similarities and the difference that exists between them. It could be in the form of data presentation or by just observation.
Since the result is presented in a tabular form, the table must carry a heading. However, the results explain the data in figures and tables and also do a call to attention. Besides, the writer should avoid unnecessary repetitions while explaining the tables and figures presented.
A well-prepared result will display both the design of the experiment and the results.
It is at the discussion phase that results and other factors of influence are discussed and enumerated. Here also, the results should be expatiated, comparison and contrast drawn between your findings and already published articles and making references to them in the process.
In the case whereby you arrive at a result different from published articles, it should be enumerated biologically, having it in mind to explain the reason for the outcome. Do not think that the fact that your findings are different from that of published articles means that you did something wrong. No!
The last paragraph in the discussion should explain how your findings apply to some other broader topics, so arriving at a wider conclusion.
Cited works of literature
References should be cited whenever information that is not common or not obtained personally is used in the course of the research work, so, it is required to show the source of information. Failure to cite these references is termed as plagiarism and a discredit to the researchers.
Do not make use of footnotes in your biology research paper. There are several ways of citing references in your work.
Instances of citation will include;
- When the publication used is authored by a single author. For example, hibiscus flowers are usually pollinated by a yellow-colored bat (Gomez 1998).
- When the publication used is authored by two writers, for example, James and Anderson (1974) discovered that pigs also react to pickled yams.
In the case where there are three or more authors like (White, Jefferson, Donald, and Reagan 1954), the citation should take this form – The cat was discovered to be different in this respect from the type used in this experiment (White et al. 1954).
The last name of the first author is cited, followed by et al., which means and others. However, the names of all the authors must be cited when referring to their article.
The writers of a biology research paper must know how to cite references when they are coming from journals, books, internet sources (most times, online sources are not cited except they are online peer-reviewed electronic journals).
Forms of writing in Biology
Lab reports - It is used to present the findings of one experiment. Therefore, it should have the experiment objective, summarized introduction, analysis of methods used, data obtained, and the interpretation of the results.
Lab Notebook - This acts as technical material and reference for other laboratory users. Also, they present genuine details of work carried out by another scientist. The notebook contains original records of the scientist's activities, so its content differs from person to person.
All information in it must be dated, legible, and must not be taken out of the laboratory room. It remains the exclusive property of the lab.
Review papers - This presents a summary of an already published article that relates to a topic in biology and can be found helpful to researchers coming into a new field. Here, the writer gathers relevant resources, and harmonize the writings into a well-written review paper, making adequate reference to the authors.
Research manuscript (Publications) - They are used to present the result of a scientific experiment. The research manuscript usually varies in length, depending on the outcome of the experiment. It includes a list of all resources and references consulted. Besides, this publication acknowledges all financial and technical assistance enjoyed during the work.
Literature critique - Here, the writer examines everything that makes up a publication. Also, the writers of this literature must put in mind its readability and its conformity to guidelines. The writer of this paper must analyze the work to be critiqued, identify a central message, and check out the methods and results from the work. Emphasis should be placed on the weaknesses, strength, and writing styles of the experiments.
Abstract - This paper gives a summary of a research paper. It carries the most important details in the experiment. The introduction is usually not more than one to two sentences, the research objectives, the method used, results, and the discussion based on data generated. The relevance of the experiment is also discussed in the abstract.
Common errors to be avoided
These common errors are highlighted so that you could avoid them when writing a biology research paper;
Latin name: Many of the terms used in sciences have their origin from Latin, so spellings must be properly checked. Ensure that the right format when addressing the following;
Ecology side – The species and genus of an organism are written in italics or underlined. The first letter of the Genus is capitalized while specie is not. For example, Escherichia coli.
Writing genes and their products also vary from organism to organism; so, ensure the right format is used and also consistent throughout the write-up.
Chemical formulae: The teams must be written in the correct form. For example, H2O is the molecular formulae for water, while H2O does not make any meaning.
Tenses and Voices: It should be written in the past tense because the action has already been carried out. Active voice must also be employed because the subject of the sentence acted.
Units: Use them in the right place and must be in metric. There are online tools available if these units need to be converted. One of such is www.goconvert.com.
Data should always be pluralized, while species can be used as both singular and plural.
The concluding part is as important as the introduction because it must have a big impact on your audience. There must be ample time dedicated to proofreading and final editing before arriving at the final copy of the research work.
It must be original, properly referenced, and well-formatted so that the audience will not only enjoy reading it but also be educated on things that you want them to know. So, you must learn how to compose your biology research paper, sum all your work, and also present it concisely.