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BIO 497: Senior Seminar in Biology: Research Proposal Writing

Doris Van Kampen-Breit

Description & Expectations

Course Description: Designed for senior biology majors to have the opportunity to write and orally present a research proposal, BIO497 is a prerequisite for BIO 498, the capstone course in the biology major. 

Expectations: You will conduct a review of the scientific literature, and construct and design a written research project proposal, which will be presented to a group for peer review, in keeping with the norms of the field of biology.

Paper: you will need a minimum of ten (10) citations, eight (8) of which must be primary sources, and two (2) of which can be secondary sources. No textbooks allowed. See you syllabus for more information.

The Research Process

Getting Started

When you are assigned a project or paper, does your mind turn blank? Are you unsure as to where to start? Does it make you nervous? If so, you're not alone! Everyone experiences this at some time or other, but some people have strategies or techniques to get them started. When you are planning a project, presentation or paper, try some of the following suggestions.

EXPLORE the problem -- not the topic

  1. Who is your audience? Is it your professor, other students, or perhaps a boss?
  2. What is your purpose and how can you achieve it? 

DETERMINE your goals

  • What do you want to know/do?
  • How can you achieve your purpose?
  • Can you make a plan?
  • What resources will help you meet your goals?

GENERATE some ideas

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Ask for help from the library, your professor, and classmates
  • Write down your ideas, and others' ideas -don't censor or evaluate them yet -keep returning to the problem
  • Use Concept Mapping

Talk to your audience

  • What questions might they ask?
  • What different kinds of audiences might you have?
  • Do you have the answers to their potential questions?
  • If not, how can you locate the answers?