BIOL 214 Writing Assignment: Ames Introduction and Methods Why did you do this experiment? What was the point? What did you do? These questions are answered in the Introduction and Methods sections of a scientific paper. Use the following guidelines, as well as those in Pechenik (2007), to write Introduction and Methods sections for the experiment you performed in the Ames lab. This is an individual effort. Your work must be typed, double-spaced, and in a reasonably sized font. I. Title (Pechenik, 2007, pp. 213?215) Begin your introduction with a descriptive scientific title. A sufficient title describes the purpose or outcome of the actual experiment and not just the method used. Use your gathered primary sources as examples. II. Introduction (Pechenik, 2007, pp. 206?213) Your introduction should provide the background information needed to understand why you did the Ames experiment. It should be about a page in length and consist of about three paragraphs. The flow of information should be from general to specific, concluding with a statement of the specific objective of the experiment or questions addressed in the experiment. All statements of fact that are not the result your own effort must be supported with references; provide in-text citations for all of your sources and properly list them in the Literature Cited section. Since this is just an introduction and not a full lab report, you should not include any of your results. Your introduction needs to contain the following components: 1. General information (paragraph 1) The first paragraph should be about the most general concepts. For example, you might give general information about mutagenesis here: what mutagens are, what they do, and why there is need to test for them. You will gather this information from written sources, such as textbooks, the lab protocol, or review and original papers (no websites!). 2. Specific background (paragraph 2) In the second paragraph, present more specific background that will help the reader understand why you chose to test your specific substance for mutagenicity. Consider this a miniature literature review. Has your substance or any of its ingredients been previously shown to be mutagenic or carcinogenic? Have previous experiments shown it to have characteristics that might also confer mutagenicity? Is there consensus or controversy surrounding its status as a mutagen? You must include a brief summary of at least one primary research article in the second paragraph. This summary should be short and concise. In no more than 2?3 sentences, state the question addressed in the article, describe the methods, and summarize the results. For example: ?Because FD&C yellow #5 has been implicated as a food allergen and potential mutagen, Moutinho and colleagues (2007) investigated the effects of repeated, prolonged exposure to this food dye in rats. After providing one group of rats with dyed drinking water for 10 months, they found no greater incidence of carcinogenic changes in rat gastric mucosa compared to controls.? 3. Statement of purpose (paragraph 3) The last paragraph should tie together the previous two paragraphs and state the objective(s) of your experiment. You should state what question or objective you addressed and what your predictions were. In addition, you must provide a rationale, in the form of a logical argument or a reference to prior research, for each prediction that you made. Take a careful look at the statements of purpose in published primary research articles for examples of how this is typically done. For example, you might begin by saying, ?In this experiment, I asked the following question:? I predicted?because?? III. Methods (Pechenik, 2007, pp. 160?166) In the Methods section of a scientific paper, describe how you conducted your experiment. Assume that your readers have a basic understanding of biology, but provide them with enough information so they could replicate your experiment and verify your findings if they wanted to. For example, don?t describe how you obtained a pipette tip, dialed the pipette, and then aspirated your sample, but do mention the amount of sample that you used. As a general rule of thumb, describe those materials and methods that you think may have had some impact on your results, and gloss over the details that probably had no effect. Your Methods section should be in paragraph form (no lists!) and written in the past tense. You may reference your laboratory manual (Biology 214 Laboratory Handout, 2008) for details that you do not include in your Methods section. Your Methods section should be approximately one paragraph in length. IV. References (Pechenik, 2007, pp. 72?82) Finally, include a Literature Cited (or Reference List) at the end of your assignment. Full references should be listed in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author. All references in this section must have been cited in the text in the (Author, Year) format described by Pechenik (2007). You will need a minimum of 3 references, including at least two journal articles, with at least one of these being a primary research article (i.e., an article about original research, not a review). Websites may not be used as references for this assignment, but they are often useful for finding acceptable references. Tips for Scientific Writing: ? Structure each paragraph around a topic and concluding sentence. This will help you focus your ideas and smooth the transitions between paragraphs. Each paragraph should flow logically from one to the next. ? Do not state the article title or researchers? full names in the body of your text. This is provided in your list of references, to which you refer your reader by citing the article in (Author, Year) format. ? Avoid informal language. ? Do not quote another author?instead, paraphrase! Describe their main point(s) in your own words. ? Never use the word prove. An experiment ?supports? or ?disagrees? with hypotheses, and a study can show or lend support, but neither provides irrefutable proof or determines absolute truth. ? See Pechenik (2007) pp. 5?14 for more writing tips, as well as pp. 218?221 for a final draft checklist. References Biology 214 Laboratory Handout. 2008. Ames testing: are chemicals, mutations, and cancer linked? Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. 5 pp. Moutinho, I.L.D., Bertges, L.C., and R.V.C. Assis. 2007. Prolonged use of the food dye tartrazine (FD&C yellow n?5) and its effects on the gastric mucosa of Wistar rats. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 67: 141?145. Pechenik, J.A. 2007. A Short Guide to Writing About Biology (6 th ed.). New York: Pearson Education, Inc. 310 pp. BIOL 214 Scoring Rubric for Ames Introduction and Methods writing assignment (50 points possible) Level of achievement Title Introduction Methods Literature citations and reference list Writing Exemplary (3 pts.) ? Title is scientific and gives a specific indication of what the study is about. (20 pts.) ? Material flows from general to specific, forming a logical argument leading up to the question that was addressed. ? ¶1: Provides clear background explaining what mutagens are, what they do, and why there is a need to test for them. ? ¶2: Clearly justifies the need to test the specific substance for mutagenicity based on perusal of the literature. Summary of one primary paper given. ? ¶3: Clearly states the purpose of the experiment and specific expectations, for which a sound rationale is provided. (12 pts.) ? Design of experiment is clear, complete, and presented in an organized fashion. Purpose of various plates is explained. ? Provides the appropriate level of detail. ? Methods are in the past tense. ? Procedures are explained in paragraph format. (10 pts.) ? Citations are provided for every statement of fact in the report and are in the correct format (Author, Year). ? Literature cited section is in correct format and only includes references that were cited in the report. ? At least three sources are included: two of these are journal articles, one of which is a primary research article. No web pages. ? Sources are paraphrased, not directly quoted. (5 pts.) ? Uses acceptable style and grammar (no errors). ? Scientific name of bacteria is italicized and written in full upon first mention. ? Writing is scientific. Adequate (2 pts.) ? Title is scientific but vague. (15 pts.) ? Material choppily flows from general to specific, but still makes an argument as to why the question was addressed. ? ¶1 Provides background explaining mutagens. ? ¶2 Background somewhat justifies testing the specific substance. Sources are tangential. ? ¶3 Clearly states the purpose of the experiment and specific expectations, but rationale is weak or missing. (10 pts.) ? Design of experiment is fairly clear and organized; purpose of various plates is mostly explained. ? Level of detail may not be entirely appropriate. ? Methods are mostly in the past tense. ? Procedures are explained in paragraph format. (8 pts.) ? Citations are provided for every statement of fact in the report, but the format is inconsistent. ? Literature cited section only lists references that were cited in the report. Reference list format is inconsistent. ? At least 3 sources are included. At least one is a primary research article. No web pages. ? Sources are paraphrased, not directly quoted. (3 pts.) ? Uses adequate style and grammar (a few errors). ? Bacteria not ital. ? Writing is mostly scientific with a small amount of informal language. Needs Improvement (1 pts.) ? Title is not scientific or specific. (10 pts.) ? Material does not flow from general to specific. The reader doesn?t understand why the experiment was done. ? ¶1 Provides unclear background on mutagens. ? ¶2 Does not justify the need to test the specific substance for mutagenicity. Sources are unrelated. ? ¶3 Does not clearly state the purpose of the experiment or specific expectations. (7 pts.) ? Design of experiment is not clear. ? Level of detail inappropriate. ? Written in present or future tense, or as instructions. ? Procedures listed as steps or are numbered or bulleted. (5 pts.) ? Several citations are not provided and format may be inconsistent. ? Literature cited section lists references that were not cited in the report or whole references are missing. Reference list format is inconsistent. ? Less than three sources are used or web pages are used in place of more appropriate sources. ? Sources are quoted. (1 pts.) ? Fails to use adequate style and grammar (>5 errors). ? Bacteria not named ? Writing is inappropriately informal for a scientific paper. Missing (0 pts.) (0 pts.) (0 pts.) (0 pts.) (0 pts.) Ames Rubric out of 50 points
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