BIOL 1110 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: English Units, Osmotic Concentration, Macrophage

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31 May 2016
The text should be 3-5 pages in length, and double-spaced TYPED (using a normal size type).
Depending on the number of tables or figures you present, your paper may be longer.
Your paper should consist of the following parts:
1. Title page- a statement of the question or problem your paper addresses,
2. Abstract- paragraph that summarizes your experiment and findings.
3. Introduction- background and significance of the problem,
4. Materials and Methods- a description of the experiment, and the materials needed to
perform the experiment,
5. Results- presentation of your data,
6. Discussion- interpretation of your results, and further implications,
7. References- materials you used in writing your paper. You must provide the heading for
each section.
Writers use the introduction to move ALL readers to the same level. Some readers may have no
knowledge of your subject. The introduction should give them sufficient information to
understand the purpose and significance of your project, and the results you obtained.
In the introduction, you will give background about your subject. For example, if you were writing a
paper on cell membrane function, you would include in your introduction a description of types of
transport across the cell membrane, why this is necessary to cell function, and any other bits of
information the reader might need before proceeding.
The introduction should also clearly state the purpose of the project. The writer needs to let the
reader know what hypothesis was being tested. There are many ways to state it, but if all else fails,
you could include; "The purpose of this project was to....." In the introduction, use the past tense
to refer to your own work; use the present tense to refer to work you are referencing.
Methods and Materials
"Methods and Materials" is exactly as the name implies. In this section, you should list all of the
materials used and step-by-step directions on how to perform the experiment. From your paper, a
reader should have sufficient information to be able to repeat your exact experiment. It will be
tempting for you to just copy the procedure section from your lab manual. DON'T DO IT! The lab
manual is not written in scientific paper format. The materials and methods section should be
written in paragraph form, using the past tense.
Your first paragraph will contain a list of materials needed to complete the experiment. The following
paragraphs will describe the procedure. When writing this paper, assume that you are an
independent researcher writing for other independent researchers. NEVER refer to the students, the
class or the teacher. Do not use sentences such as "The teacher will provide the students with
solution X" or "The students will work in groups of four." This information is irrelevant.
One of the difficulties in writing the materials and methods section is knowing how detailed to be.
Remember that your lab manual is written as a teaching resource, not as a scientific paper. In the
procedure section of the lab manual, there may be information that is not necessary to include in
the scientific paper. For example, it would not be necessary to inform the reader that you used wax
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marking pencils to label the tubes. It is also not necessary to describe STANDARD procedures such
as preparing a wet mount or using a microscope.
A scientific paper will NOT include instructions for how to use equipment either. For example, if you
were using a spectrophotometer to read the absorbance values of a particular sample, you would
just describe the type of sample being measured, the control used, and the wavelengths of light at
which the sample was measured. You would not include instructions for which buttons to push, and
when. Other researchers in other labs might not have the same brand or model spectrophotometer,
making that information irrelevant. It is the reader’s responsibility to learn to use equipment in the
laboratory by reading the manufacturer's instructions.
In the materials and methods section, do not describe expected results, or failed attempts. It would
not be helpful to the reader to know that on your first try, you goofed, and added the wrong solution
to tube A.
In this section you will describe the results you obtained, without making analysis or explanation.
You will include charts, graphs, drawings, or tables to help compile and present the data you
For example, if you were writing a paper on cell membrane function, you would describe exactly
what happened to the Elodea after adding the salt solution or distilled water. You might want to
draw a picture of the cell as it appeared after adding the solution. In scientific papers, numbers are
most useful. Any time you can use numbers to express results, your work is more valid. Try to
express your data in terms of numbers as often as possible. For example, you might compare
the size of the cell or central vacuole before and after adding the salt solution and you
might time the reaction, and record that data. You could even create a table showing the
differences at different times and among different cells. The visual presentation of data allows the
reader to quickly reference and sort your results.
Always be sure to label and title any chart, graph or drawing that you might use, and refer the
reader to it in the text of the paper. For example, the first illustration you use might be labeled
"FIGURE 1: The effect of hypertonic solutions on the Elodea."
While tables, graphs, and illustrations are critical to the result section of the paper, you must also
have some text in this section. The text guides the reader from figure to figure, describing what the
figure is showing. The text points out interesting trends in the data. Do not include a chart or graph
without referring to it in the text of the result section. The result section describes what results were
obtained, but you will not draw conclusions or make explanations for the data in this section. For
example, if you were writing about cell membrane function, your result section would show how the
size of the central vacuole increased in hypotonic solutions, so much so that the animal cells
exploded. You would point out how long it took for this to occur, if the trend was the same in plant
cells, and what happened with hypertonic solutions (using charts and graphs). Yet you would NOT
try to explain why it happened. You would not try to discuss the osmolarity, the relative
concentration of solutes to solvents. That information would belong in the conclusion section.
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