It is to help you become an accomplished, talented, skilful writer. You will have to prepare a number of research papers based upon the studies that are completed in labs. Our research papers are not typically "lab reports." In a teaching process, lab reports are nothing more than answers to a set of questions that can be generally asked. Such an assignment would hardly represent the kind of writing you will have to do eventually in your upcoming career.
Written and orally communicating skills are probably the most universal qualities desired by graduates and professional schools as well as by the employers. You alone are responsible to develop such skills to a higher level.
Resources for learning technical writing
Before beginning with your first writing assignment, it is recommended to consult the following resources, in order to gain benefit from the experience.
- The General form of a typical research article
- Any specific guidelines for the assignment - see all the write-ups on individual lab studies.
- McMillan, VE. "Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences, Third Edition" New York Bedford/St.Martins, 2002. ISBN 0-312-25857-7 (Required for Bios 211, 311, 411, recommended for other science courses that include the writing)
- Writing the portfolio examples. Pdf
As you polish you're writing skills please make use of the following resources
- Feedback of the instructor on previous assignments
- Common errors found in student research papers
- Some selected writing rules are (somewhat less serious than the other resources)
For major in biosciences the general guidelines that apply to future course work, as seen by examining the guidelines for the advanced experimental sciences research paper (Bios 311). Instructions given for the authors from the Journal of Biological Chemistry editorial board might also be helpful. The statement of editorial policies and practices may give an idea of how the material makes its way to the scientific literature.
General Form of a research paper
The objective of organizing a research paper is basically to allow people to read your work selectively. When I research a for a topic, I may be just interested in the methods, a specific result, the interpretation, the reason of it, or perhaps I just prefer seeing a summary of the paper to determine whether it is relevant to my nature of study or not. Many journals require the following sections, submitted according to the order listed, each section starting from a new page. There are specifically variations of course. Some journals require combined results and discussion, for example, or include methods and materials after the body of the paper. Just like the well known journal Science has separated sections altogether, except for the abstract itself.
Your papers should abide by the form and the style that is required for the journal of Biological Chemistry and also the requirements that are shared by many journals in the life sciences.