COMMON ISSUES WITH PAPERS SUBMITTED IN BIOL R120 and MICRO R100

 

1.         Rough drafts should be 4 pages typed.  This is the only way to gauge if the draft is going to be sufficient for final copy purposes.  The paper is to be double-spaced, in 12 point Times New Roman or Times, and with 1-inch margins all around.

 

2.         Use headings to separate major sections, so that there is some room to breathe while reading.  Ensure that there is a flow to the information in the paper, with proper use of closing sentences for major sections, and bridges to unite different sections (if required for continuity).  There must be an introduction and a conclusion.  There are three additional pages to note:  Title page, abstract page, and references page.

 

3.         Do not be personal in the paper.  Do not use 'I', 'me', 'we', or 'us'.

 

4.         All scientific names must be italicized appropriately.  If unsure, use the format that is used in the papers or literature, or ask how to properly format a scientific name.  Generally, a scientific name has the genus capitalized and the species in lower case, as in Homo sapiens.  A second use of a particular scientific name can exclude the full genus, and use only an abbreviation, as in H. sapiens.  When starting a sentence with a scientific name, it is usually very bad form to use an abbreviated generic name.  Homo sapiens, therefore, used here as the first item in a sentence, has the full genus spelled out, even though this is the third use of the scientific name thus far.

 

5.         Abstracts do not get citations.

 

6.         Material must be properly cited with references listed on the references page.  When in doubt about whether to use a citation, just use the citation. Important general rules:
6a) Use only last names in citations, plus the year of the publication;
6b) For textual citations, which are those that are included in the text, spell out the word "and" before the last author;
6c) For parenthetical citations, which are those that are in parentheses, do not spell out the word "and" before the last author, use the "&" symbol instead.


Depending on how many authors are on a reference, a citation may use all, some, or only one of the authors, according to the following rules:
6d) References with 1 or 2 authors always use the single author or both authors [''Nicholson and Jones, 2005'']
6e) References with 3-5 authors use all authors on the first textual use and on the first parenthetical use, but on subsequent textual and/or parenthetical use have only the first author followed by "et al" [''(Nicholson, Jones, & Smith, 2004)'' for first use, ''Nicholson et al, 2004'' for subsequent uses]
6f) References with 6 or more authors always use only the first author followed by "et al" ["Nicholson et al, 2011]
 

7.         All citations should be properly formatted and included in the sentence with the information being referenced.  In other words, put the period at the end of a sentence, and a reference to something in the sentence should be part of the sentence!

 

Thus, a proper citation might look like this:

 

Over 2,000 individual improperly formatted citations were identified in the term papers submitted during one semester in a particular microbiology class (Nicholson, 2011).

 

An incorrectly formatted citation might look like this (notice the incorrect placement of the final period, excluding the reference from the sentence requiring the citation):

 

Over 2,000 individual improperly formatted citations were identified in the term papers submitted during one semester in a particular microbiology class. (Nicholson, 2011)

 

8.         Quotes should be used to strengthen arguments and supplement your own words.  Quotes should not replace your own narrative.  Long quotes should not be used unless they are specifically required for some purpose.

 

9.         All quoted material must have citations with the page(s) of the quoted material identified in the citation.

 

Thus, a properly cited quote might look like this:

 

Over 2,000 individual improperly formatted citations were identified in the term papers submitted during one semester in a particular microbiology class, which was a ''severe disappointment that defies description'' (Nicholson, 2011, p. 5).

 

10.       Do not forget to describe the subject (gene, microbe, etc) the paper is supposed to be about.  A good place to get detailed information is: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/IEB/Research/Acembly/

 

11.       Have a peer review your paper so that issues with the flow of ideas or context can be resolved.  Use spell-check and grammar check to ensure proper construction, and have a peer review the paper to ensure that you have both correct throughout the paper.  Sometimes, especially with scientific subjects, having a separate reviewer look and ask questions regarding intent or meaning can give you the chance to improve how a sentence reads.

 

 

 

CHECK THE INFORMATION REGARDING THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PAPER AT:

 

http://www.oxnard.michael-nicholson.com/biology/Term_Paper.htm

 

For APA style requirements, starting with references (which is the most common problem for everyone) look to: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/05/

 

The actual APA website is not as easy to navigate, but is at: http://www.apastyle.org/