Extra Credit Microbiology Paper: BIOL 2300
Purpose: You will research a science topic of personal interest that relates to the field of microbiology and use multiple credible sources to write a 2-3 page, double-spaced, 12 pt font paper. This structure of this paper will be very similar to how news stories are written. Completion of this paper will add 5 points to your lowest exam grade which has not been dropped.
Task: One of the most important decisions you will make is choosing a topic. Choose a topic that you find both interesting and/or relevant to your life. When considering a topic, ask yourself the following questions:
• Is this a topic that is related to the field of microbiology?
• How will I make this topic relevant to the audience (why should they care)?
Download the “Interest Survey” sheet to start brainstorming a topic that you want to write about. Follow the “How to Search the Internet” sheet to locate information about the topic you want to write about. Run your topic by your instructor before you start writing.
Writing Your Paper:
Generally, news stories are organized in the following order where information is presented in order of importance (starting with the most important information):
The lead tells the reader the main idea of the story. The lead should be concise. Meaning it should be brief and clear while still providing a lot of information. The story’s lead should answer the following questions (the five W’s and H):
1. Who is the story about? or Who is involved?
2. What is the story about? or What happened?
3. When did the event take place?
4. Where did the event take place?
5. Why did the event take place?
6. How did the event happen?
Depending on the topic, you may not answer all six question, but at minimum the lead should answer the Who and What.
The body gives the reader more information and allows the journalist to elaborate on the topic. The information in the body should be presented in decreasing order of importance, beginning with the most important information. Other points:
• Use quotes (both direct and indirect) to tell reader the source of the information. Quotes need to be attributed—you must give credit to the person who provided the information
• Direct quotes should be surrounded by quotation marks and include the source’s exact words.
o Example: “The libraries are usually crowded and filled with students this time of the semester,” said Laura Sykler, a sophomore at the Ohio State University.
• Paraphrased statements and indirect quotes should not be put in quotations marks.
• Most of a story’s information should be attributed through phrases as “she (he) said” or “according to a recent report”
• Maintain an objective tone, meaning you should make sure your writing is not influenced by your own feelings or opinions.
• Use the third person; avoid pronouns such as I, me, you, us.
• Use short simple sentences—no paragraph should contain more than three or four sentences.
• If you are present information that involves statistics, make sure to include a table and/or graph from one of your sources and make sure to cite it properly.
The tail is where you will put extra information that is interesting but not necessary and will be included within your body.
The headline or title, states the main idea of the story. An effective headline grabs the reader’s attention and encourages them to read the entire story
• Create your headline after you’ve written the story.
• Your headline should be concise (6 or 7 words) and reflect your news story.
• Focus on key words and avoid using words like a, an, and the.
• Cite your references in APA format. Here is a reference generator that you can use: http://www.citationmachine.net/apa
• Wikipedia is a great resource to use to help answer some of the questions above, but don’t cite it! You will see at the bottom of the Wikipedia page, there are citations that will take you to the original source of the information. Cite those sources!
• Research databases: You can find them under the “Library Resources” tab in iCollege. Find a science-based database.
• Science news sites: http://www.pnas.org/, https://www.sciencenews.org/, https://sciworthy.com/, https://phys.org/, http://www.bbc.com/, https://scholar.google.com/; http://www.sciencemag.org/
Criteria for Success:
Below is the rubric that you should follow as you are writing your science news story.
6 5-4 3-2 1
Headline The headline captures the reader’s attention and accurately describes the content. Article has a headline that accurately describes the content. Article has a headline that does not describe the content. Article is missing a headline
Lead Lead grabs the readers’ attention and focuses the reader on the topic. Lead tells the most important details. Lead is not clearly connected to the article. There is no clear lead in the article.
Body (supporting details) The details in the body are clear and support the topic. The details in the body are clear but need to be more developed. Some details may not fit with the topic Most of the details in the body are clear. Body does not focus on the topic well. The details in the body are neither clear nor related to the topic
Spelling & grammar No spelling or grammar errors. No more than a couple spelling and/or grammar errors. No more than three spelling and/or grammar errors. Many spelling and/or grammar errors
Sources Writer used as many sources needed to present all sides of the story, and sources are clearly identified All information accurate and properly attributed. A minimum of three sources were used and clearly identified. Most information is attributed. Information is accurate. Two or fewer sources are used. Some sources are improperly identified, or opinion is given without attribution. Information is accurate but may not be thorough. Only one source is used or sources are improperly identified. Much information is given without attribution. Inaccurate or vague information.