Human Biology BIOL1X08 2019

Human Biology BIOL1X08 20191GUIDELINES FOR WRITING THE SCIENTIFIC REPORTThe instructions in this document are specific to writing the scientific report for BIOL1008, and BIOL1908.Details here may differ between other scientific writing guidelines you have come across in another sciencediscipline or even another biology unit. In the scientific community, the form and style of journals of thesame discipline would differ and researchers are required to abide by their guidelines when submittingtheir manuscripts.LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THE INVESTIGATION AND REPORTHypothesis and design• Develop a research question and a testable hypothesis based on information aboutthe topic, and carry out an appropriately designed experiment and collect dataData analysis and interpretation• Interpret data and present findings in an appropriate form• Compare results to the findings of other studiesInformation literacy• Effectively search the biology literature and identify sources relevant to the report• Construct a scientific report using proscribed reporting instructions• Demonstrate an understanding of data interpretation and use of the primaryliteratureThinking about concepts• Demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly and use scientific languageappropriatelyREPORT FORMATIt is your responsibility to make sure the final report conforms to and addresses the marking criteria.Therefore, make sure that you adhere to the assessment criteria listed on the marking rubric very carefully.The report will be a maximum of 4 A4 pages (single-sided), with 12 point Calibri font, 1.5 spaced, and withmargins of exactly 2 cm on all sides. The page limit is for the introduction, methods, results (excludingfigures) and discussion sections together, and does NOT include the reference list or figures or tables.Marking will stop at 4 pages should you exceed the page limit.Human Biology BIOL1X08 20192SECTIONS OF THE REPORTFor this report, you will be submitting a scientific article with the following sections:• Introduction• Methods: this section is not assessed but do include the text that was produced together as a classfrom Workshop 2. That way your marker has full understanding of your experimental design andmethods. See below for more detail.• Results• Discussion• ReferencesINTRODUCTIONProvide an informative title that encapsulates the research question addressed in your study. In consideringthe key words to include, you may want to think about the subject types, the measure taken, the treatmentand some mention of exercise.The introduction should set the scene for your study and provide sufficient context around the topic of thequestion for the reader to understand why you are carrying out the experimental investigation. Start withthe big picture and narrow the focus to your specific topic. As you do so, provide a summary of the relevantresearch that has been done in the field (i.e. literature review) and how your study will contribute to thescientific community and bridge any knowledge gaps (justification). Choose papers from the literature thatwill provide relevant background information and others that will help with more detailed explanations ofthe question(s) you are asking. You can also return to these research papers in the discussion section whenyou are relating your findings to those from other studies. Assume that your reader has a good generalknowledge of science, but may not know details of the particular research field associated with your topicfor investigation. At the end of your introduction you should clearly summarise the question you wereinvestigating and state your hypothesis for the experiment.METHODSThe methods will be written by the class in Workshop 2 and will be posted online, and these methodscan be pasted directly into your report. This section will not be assessed, but it is important to includeit so that your marker understands the experiment you performed.The methods section should provide sufficient information for a reader of your report to perform yourexperiment and get comparable data. Methods sections generally recount how the experiment wasconducted in chronological order. Important things to include in methods are the equipment you used,the number of individuals you collected measurements from, and the instruments you used to makemeasurements. Methods sections should also include an explanation of how the data you collect wasanalysed.Human Biology BIOL1X08 20193RESULTSData analysisBefore you start writing up your results, you will need to process the raw data, which is available in an excelspreadsheet uploaded onto the page dedicated to Practical 2 on Canvas. Regardless of what data wascollected in your class, it is highly likely that you will be calculating means and standard errors.You can refer to the video guide on processing the raw data using excel: It would be best to save your file as you will need thislater to construct a figure to include in your report (see page 4).8:15 – 13:30 min Using excel functions to calculate means and standard errorsWritten description of the resultsYou should start this section with a written description of the results. Since you are interested in what hashappened at the population level, you will need to include:• the mean values, as opposed to raw data for each subject.• standard error (SE). There should be one SE value to accompany each mean. SE is one of thevarious measures of spread that indicate how variable your data is. The calculation for SE takes intoaccount the sample size which allows us to estimate how close the mean in our sample population(the subjects used) is to the ‘true’ mean of the actual population. Generally, the larger the samplesize, the smaller the standard error, and the smaller the standard error, the more robust the data.• sample size (the number of replicates) for each treatment group. It is scientific convention inscientific writing to abbreviate sample size as ‘n’.Only provide the facts from the processed data and do not discuss what they could mean biologically in thissection. Any interpretation or analysis belongs in the discussion section. When describing your results, donot use subjective words like ‘fairly large’ and ‘rather sparse’. Be objective, for example,The mean number of sit ups completed by active individuals over a 2 min period was 62 (SE = 1.9,n=56) (Figure 1).Another way to describe your findings using quantitative comparisons is for example,The mean respiratory rate following a 5 min step-test was 1.4. times greater in inactive individuals(mean = 35.1 breaths/min, SE = 3.2, n = 43) compared to active individuals (mean = 25.1breaths/min, SE = 2.8, n = 42) (Figure 1).Referencing figures or tablesAny figure or table presented in the report must be referred to in the written description of the results. Areference to a figure or table should be done when stating the key information presented in the figure orthe table.An example where a reference to a figure is well-integrated in the written description of the results is:The time to complete a 2 km run was 1.6 times faster in subjects who participated in the highintensity training program (mean = 7.75 min, SE = 1.8, n = 20) compared to the control group whodid not undertake any training (mean = 12.4 min, SE = 2.3, n = 20 ) (Figure 1).Human Biology BIOL1X08 20194Examples of an unhelpful reference to the figure (or table) are:The results are shown in Figure 1.Table 1 shows the class data collected from the experiment.Presentation of figuresOnce you have calculated the means and SE for each of your treatment groups (see the section on DataAnalysis above), you will be ready to plot your processed data in a graph. We anticipate that a columngraph will be most appropriate for your situation. You can refer to the following video guide: – 30: 55 min Creating a column graph with error bars representing standard errorIn Workshop 2 on scientific writing, the teaching assistants will also help you with using Excel functions tocalculate means and standard errors, as well as constructing graphs.A figure must have an accompanying legend that is separate from the main body of text. It is scientificconvention to have figure legends immediately below a figure. The legend begins with a label. For anygraphs included in your report, label them as figures and have them numbered sequentially as they appearin the report (e.g. Figure 1, Figure 2, etc). For the legend to be complete, include an informative descriptionthat allows the reader to understand the content presented in the figure and make their owninterpretation of the data without needing to refer to the main body of text. Different disciplines within lifesciences has their own set of conventions for what constitutes appropriate information for legends but forthis report, we expect that you integrate information on what data is being presented, the treatmentgroups, the exercise test, any time points (where appropriate), what the error bars represent and thesample sizes. This helps the reader make sense of the data.As figures are not included in the page count, we ask that you have figures on a page on their own. Youshould not need more than a page of figures. Each figure with its accompanying legend should be about ½page in size and any text within them should be clearly legible.DISCUSSIONThis is one of the most important sections of the report and demonstrates your understanding of the topic,your aim in carrying out your experiment and the context of your experiment in a broader researchframework.First, interpret your results. Explain what you think your results mean and state whether your data providesevidence for or against your hypothesis. It is not necessary to repeat what you have said in the resultssection – this is a waste of space and does not add value to your report. Please bear in mind that whetheryour hypothesis was supported by the data or not has no bearing on whether your experiment was“successful”. Some of the most important science in history involved experiments with outcomes entirelyunpredicted by the experimenters!Human Biology BIOL1X08 20195After you have interpreted your results, compare your findings to those from other relevant studies in theliterature. Did your study have different or similar findings to previous studies, or both? Remember toacknowledge all of your sources of information by citing relevant references. When referring to otherstudies, write the information in your own words, rather than quoting. Discuss why differences andsimilarities in the findings might be so. Comparing results around the differences in methodologiesbetween studies is acceptable, but we would like you to place a strong focus on biological reasons thatcould explain differences and/or similarities in results across the studies. It is also important to ground yourwork in a broader biological context – what is the biology surrounding the results and why it is important.This means linking your discussion points back to the justification addressed in the introduction.You will also need to discuss how you might change or improve your methodology – you should use theliterature to support your suggestions. Avoid focusing on superficial limitations such as human error andlogistical setbacks, but rather frame your arguments around the biology. Also, think about new researchquestions that were raised after comparing your findings with previous work, and discuss what furtherstudies you would conduct – research rarely stops after one experiment or question. Your reading of therelevant literature will help with this section. Points argued in the discussion should mirror those you raisedin your introduction, so that there is a flow of ideas through the report.Finally, in your concluding paragraph, summarise the key findings in terms of your original researchquestion. Briefly link back to the significance of your study that was made in the Introduction to end yourwriting in a positive note. It is possible to acknowledge the limits in which the results were interpretedwithout downplaying your findings but acknowledge the limits. Also briefly touch on where future researchcould be taken.REFERENCESIncluding references in your scientific report is important because it helps to show how your work fits intothe work done by other researchers, and provides some context to help the reader evaluate how yourexperiment has changed the state of our current knowledge on the topic. Keep in mind that how you usethe references is more important than the number of references you have. There are resources on Canvasto help you find scientific literature relevant to your experiment: go to the Unit of Study Homepage>Library Information>Literature Searching for more information. Post queries on Piazza if you haveproblems accessing sources.It is essential that you acknowledge all your sources of information by citing that source(s) in your text. Allsources that are cited must also be listed in the reference list. Refer to the Harvard Referencing guide forthe School of Life and Environmental Sciences (on Canvas) for information on how to cite sources ofinformation and format a reference list.KEY POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN WRITINGSentence structure, paragraph structure and scientific languageAll sections except for the reference list should be written as proper paragraphs with full sentences – donot write in bullet point format. Avoid having the entirety of the introduction or the discussion written inone paragraph. Instead, separate the different parts within each section into separate paragraphs.Keep sentences short and clear. Avoid verbosity i.e. long and unnecessarily detailed sentences which arepotentially confusing. For example, the following sentence would be considered verbose:Human Biology BIOL1X08 20196As communicated by the statistical statements in the results section, there was no significantdifference between the subjects that consumed caffeinated coffee to those that consumed thedecaffeinated coffee in relation to mean pulse, trends which are observable in Figure 1 and havebeen discussed earlier.The same information could be conveyed more succinctly or concisely:There was no significant difference in mean pulse rate between the caffeinated and decaffeinatedtreatment groups.The majority of the report, including the hypothesis, should be written in past tense, as you are reportingon a study that has been conducted.As the language in scientific writing is formal, avoid imprecise, colloquial phrases. Some examples of formaland colloquial language are below:
got bigger
looked at
Abbreviations can be used although excessive use of them can decrease the readability of the report. Ifusing abbreviations, first present the unabbreviated terminology followed by the abbreviated form inparentheses. From there onwards, you can use the abbreviated term throughout the report. Exceptions tothis rule are the use of ‘SE” for standard error and ‘n’ sample size. Every scientist would know these andtherefore you can use the abbreviations without explaining what it stands for beforehand.CohesionThe ideas in adjacent sentences should be linked, and sentences should flow from one to the next. Useparagraphs effectively to separate ideas or a collection of similar ideas. Ensure paragraphs and thesentences within them flow logically from one to the next. Overall, the report should follow the ‘hourglass’structure where Introduction starts with the broader focus and narrow down to the specific points of thestudy, and vice versa in the Discussion.ACADEMIC INTEGRITYAcademic dishonesty involves seeking unfair academic advantage or helping another student to do so.You may be found to have engaged in academic dishonesty if you:– Resubmit (or “recycle”) work that you have already submitted for assessment in the same unit or in a differentunit or previous attempt;– Use assignment answers hosted on the internet, including those uploaded to document sharing websites by otherstudents.– Have someone else complete part or all of an assignment for you, or do this for another student.Human Biology BIOL1X08 20197– Except for legitimate group work purposes, providing assignment questions and answers to other studentsdirectly or through social media platforms or document (“notes”) sharing websites, including essays and writtenreports.– Engage in examination misconduct, including using cheat notes or unapproved electronic devices (e.g.,smartphones), copying from other students, discussing an exam with another person while it is in progress, orremoving confidential examination papers from the examination venue.– Engage in dishonest plagiarism.Plagiarism means presenting another person’s work as if it is your own without properly or adequately referencingthe original source of the work.Plagiarism is using someone else’s ideas, words, formulas, methods, evidence, programming code, images, artworks,or musical creations without proper acknowledgement. If you use someone’s actual words you must use quotationmarks as well as an appropriate reference. If you use someone’s ideas, formulas, methods, evidence, tables or imagesyou must use a reference. You must not present someone’s artistic work, musical creation, programming code or anyother form of intellectual property as your own. If referring to any of these, you must always present them as thework of their creator and reference in an appropriate way.Plagiarism is always unacceptable, regardless of whether it is done intentionally or not. It is considered dishonest ifdone knowingly, with intent to deceive or if a reasonable person can see that the assignment contains more workcopied from other sources than the student’s original work. The University understands that not all plagiarism isdishonest and provides students with opportunities to improve their academic writing, including their understandingof scholarly citation and referencing practices.USE OF SIMILARITY DETECTION SOFTWAREAll written assignments submitted in this unit of study will be submitted to the similarity detecting software programknown as Turnitin. Turnitin searches for matches between text in your written assessment task and text sourced fromthe Internet, published works and assignments that have previously been submitted to Turnitin for analysis.There will always be some degree of text-matching when using Turnitin. Text-matching may occur in use of directquotations, technical terms and phrases, or the listing of bibliographic material. This does not mean you willautomatically be accused of academic dishonesty or plagiarism, although Turnitin reports may be used as evidence inacademic dishonesty and plagiarism decision-making processes.GETTING HELPNever feel hesitant in asking a staff member for help and advice as they will be glad to provide. However,to maintain equity across the cohort, we will not be able to look at individual students’ drafts. If you haveany questions, you can ask your workshop staff at that time, or you can post your questions on Piazza.SUBMITTING YOUR REPORTThe scientific report only needs to be submitted electronically to Turnitin by 11:59 pm on Sunday the 14thof April (Stream A and BIOL1908) and by 11:59 pm on Sunday the 21st of April (Stream B). Instructions onsubmitting your draft and final reports electronically are below:1. You should name your file only with your SID- do not include your name, as we are marking reportsanonymously. Acceptable file formats are: DOC, DOCX and PDF.Human Biology BIOL1X08 201982. To avoid online traffic, do leave at least 60min to upload your file.3. Upload one file containing your entire report (all the sections, including figures and references). Nocover sheet is required.4. If you cannot upload your report before the due date for your stream, submit your report to the folderlabelled “Special Considerations and Late Submissions”.5. After you submit your paper electronically, it is your responsibility to ensure that the file and all itscontents were uploaded properly. If you are seeing formatting errors after uploading to Turnitin, pleasesave or print your file as a PDF file, and submit the PDF file to Turnitin instead.
6. An automatically generated receipt will appear in your browser once your file is uploaded successfully.Please print screen and keep this receipt as proof of your electronic submission. A receipt is also emailedto your university account. If you don’t receive a receipt through either means, then it means yoursubmission did not go through!