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Biology 203 - Microbiology

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Term paper guidelines 2021

1. Topic

Choose a topic based on an area of microbiology of interest to you.  The topic can be a specific bacterium (e.g. E. coli O157:H7), an area of applied microbiology (e.g. Symbiosis between bacteria and termites), a specific technique (e.g. new methods for water testing), or any other related topic of current interest.  Submit your topic to me by MONDAY, February 8.  Each topic can only be used by one student; topics will be assigned on a first-come/first-served basis. Click here for a list of topics and to submit your own topic.

2. Format

Your paper should:

3. Research

4. Discussion of your paper with the instructor

5. Integrity

Academic integrity is one of the highest-held values within the college community.  No form of academic dishonesty will be tolerated. Prior to submitting your term paper, you must read and acknowledge the course plagiarism policy on Moodle. Your paper will not be accepted otherwise.  Academic dishonesty includes:

  1. Plagiarism
  2. Falsification of data
  3. Fabrication of data

6. Grading

Content = 80 points (originality, effort, thought, and ability to express and communicate the ideas put forth)

Format/requirements = 20 points (Margins, spelling, grammar, organization into sections, title page, references)

Spelling/Grammar: 1/2 point deduction for every 5 errors

Format/Submission = 20 points

7. Important Dates

8. DO's and DON'Ts for your Term paper

  1. Your term paper will NOT be accepted:

  1. Your term paper will be marked down significantly IF any portions of it are plagiarized (directly copied from someone else's work, even if referenced)

  2. You MUST include with your paper:

9. Sample Term Paper Outline


A. Introduction

  1. Talk about statistics; personal experience with tetanus or case study; global impact; history

B. Body

  1. Cause

    1. Clostridium tetani 

    2. Physical traits - endosporing Gram-positive rods

    3. Culture of C. tetani - strict anaerobes

  2. Transmission

    1. Reservoir - soil bacteria

    2. Wound tetanus

    3. Gastrointestinal tetanus

  3. Pathogenesis: How the bacteria work

    1. Colonization - anaerobic

    2. Tetanus toxin

  4. Symptoms of tetanus

    1. Lockjaw, muscle spasms

    2. Spastic paralysis

  5. Treatments

    1. Antibiotics

    2. Supportive care

  6. Prevention/Vaccines available

    1. DPT

  7. Diagnosis


  8. Research articles

    1. Diagnosis of tetanus by PCR

    2. New needle-free vaccine

C. Conclusion: do not merely repeat content

D. References

10. Common spelling errors to avoid

  1. Double-check the name of any microorganism before you copy/paste an error throughout your paper!

  2. When abbreviating microbial names (e.g. E. coli), make sure that spell-checkers don't automatically capitalize the species name (e.g. E. Coli)

  3. When referencing sources: if more than one author, use ( al., year) - no period after et; period after al

  4. Citations should be placed in parentheses. If at the end of a sentence, the period comes after the parentheses! Example: This study showed XYZ (Smith et al., 2011).




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