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Writing a Research Paper

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  1. Writing a Research Paper Biology 9 Evolution Research Paper Spring 2014

  2. The Topic • 1. How do Darwin’s postulates explain the diversity of life seen in nature? Use a species or a group of related species to discuss the evolution of a trait using Darwin’s postulates. • 2. How do we know evolution by natural selection occurs? Discuss one genre of evidence for evolution and the types of evidence seen in that genre. • 3. How has studying evolution by natural selection shaped your understanding of the diversity of life on Earth?

  3. The Research • Each claim or point you make in your paper needs to be backed up by research unless it is what is called “general knowledge”. • Ex: Charles Darwin was a scientist. • Any dates and other verifiable facts, need to be cited and backed by research. • Ex: Charles Darwin published his theory in “On the Origin of the Species” in 1859. (Darwin, 1859) • A good general rule is you should have as many resources as you have paragraphs since each paragraph makes its own point.

  4. Finding Credible Sources • Google Scholar: using the google scholar function allows you to search for only scientific research articles from peer reviewed journals. • Websites: .gov .edu .org are usually reliable, but can be non-credible if they are from a biased source. .com’s can be great resources as long as they are accurate and without bias. You want to read the “about us” section of the website to uncover any bias or ulterior motive of the author. • Avoid pseudo-science websites or satirical sites. • Avoid sites that are for entertainment. • https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/02/

  5. The Introduction • The introduction should give a brief overview of what you are going to discuss in your paper. • It should also define any terms that need defining (evolution, natural selection, comparative anatomy). • It should end with your thesis statement or conclusion of research. • The thesis statement should give a focus to your paper its does not have to be in a specific format, or one sentence for that matter. Think of it as a abstract or summary of your research. • Ex. Eye color is found to vary wildly in the Homo sapienpopulation. The evolution of various eye colors in humans can be summarized by looking at natural selection’s postulates variation, differential reproduction and heredity. Evolution is studied in many fields of science and is backed by overwhelming body of evidence in comparative anatomy, which is the study of cross species anatomical features. Comparative anatomy shows evidence of evolution in sexual dimorphisms studies , homology studies, and studies of vestigial structures. Through this study of evolution and it’s evidence I have found that the great diversity of life as observed on Earth is explain though evolution by natural selection and that all living organisms have common ancestry.

  6. The Body • Each paragraph should discuss a new point. • You have the introduction, three postulates, one body of evidence, and a conclusion. Your body of evidence may be more than one point but at t minimum the paper should be no less than 6 paragraphs. • Any claim made in the paper must be backed by research and cited. • Ex: Human eye color is determined by the amount of melanin, a pigment protein, in the cells of the iris of the eye. The genes for eye color are found on chromosome 15 and 19. Depending on the specific combination of genes the phenotype eye color will result. (Guttery, “The Genetics of Eye Color”)

  7. Parenthetical Citations • Any time you make a claim, make a direct quotation, or summarize an idea that was not your own, you must cite the source in the text in the following format. • Book source (Author, page #) • Article (Author, Date) • Website (Author, Title) • https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/02/

  8. The Conclusion • Should be a last summary of your research. • Should talk about how you personally understand the theory of evolution after studying it and how you personally feel about how it explains the diversity of life on the planet. • http://libguides.usc.edu/content.php?pid=83009&sid=615873

  9. The Works Cited • List of all the sources you cited in your paper. • List in alphabetical order by author last name. • If you need to use a citation generator http://www.easybib.com/ or the reference tab in Microsoft word to help you format your citation. It is important to learn to recognize if a source is properly cited but I do not see the importance of memorizing how to cite each kind of resource. It’s like memorizing the periodic table useful but not necessary.