Biology 100/103 - Concepts in Biology
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Term Paper Guidelines

Communication of scientific principles, ideas, and experimental findings is an integral part of Biology. To be competent in the subject of Biology is therefore not only limited to being able to answer questions on a test or memorize notes. In this course, I hope that you will also be able to see Biology as a hypothesis-driven science (see Chapter 1), to discover for yourself some of the groundbreaking research that is being conducted in Biology, and to integrate this information with what we are studying to further explore a topic of Biology that interests you. You will do this in the form of writing a term paper about a topic of your choice (with instructor approval). Topics can be about anything in Biology (ecology, botany, microbiology, genetics, zoology, cell biology, etc.). You will also be asked to reflect on issues of global importance and our personal responsibilities in addressing such issues; this paper will allow you somewhat free reign in this area.

As you begin to consider your term paper topic and the writing process, please keep in mind the following guidelines:

  1. Your topic must deal with an issue in the realm of Biology and should contain significant portions describing the scientific aspects of your topic. You may certainly also examine social, ethical, political, or economical issues related to your topic, but the essence of your paper must be Biology.
  2. Your topic must be unique, i.e. you cannot choose a topic that someone else has already chosen.
  3. Your paper should be ~ 5 pages in length (typed, double-spaced, standard margins and font). This should be ~ 1,500 words. Using extra-wide margins, large fonts, pictures, tables, and extra blank lines are not appropriate ways to make up for a short paper.
  4. Your paper should be free of grammatical and spelling mistakes. Part of your term paper grade is based on spelling and grammar (For every 10 mistakes, 1/2 point will be deducted from your grade).
  5. Your paper must include at least one recent (published in 2020 or later) research paper as a reference. You should discuss the research in your term paper and include a copy of this research paper with your term paper.
  6. You will be asked to meet with me in person to discuss your term paper. You will need to bring with you a copy of your research article and an outline of your term paper.
  7. Your term paper will be due as indicated. There will be a 1 point late penalty per day after that.
  8. Any form of plagiarism is a serious matter. It is important that you understand what plagiarism is. Please read this policyYou are required to acknowledge that you have read this policy before handing in your term paper.


  1. Research your term paper well. You may utilize internet sources as well as books, journals, newspaper articles and research papers. 
  2. Be sure to do your own work.  Reference all your information (by source) in your paper. Here are some examples of how you can cite information:
  3. Some good places to start:
  4. Print out your research article (full text) and bring it with you to your meeting with me.

Grading Policy

Term paper topics

Name    Mtg Topic 



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