All students who enroll in research or independent study must write a paper that describes the substance of the research that was carried out during the semester. This paper should be approved and signed by the research supervisor. This document must be submitted to the faculty sponsor at the end of the semester.
At the end of the semester, the paper must be submitted to the sponsor by 4 p.m. within 10 days of the last day of class so that the sponsor can submit a grade to the registrar in a timely manner. Unless an alternative arrangement has been made with the sponsor beforehand, late reports will not be accepted and may result in a grade of unsatisfactory. All independent research is graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory scale.
Title: The title should be a concise description of the project.
Abstract: The abstract is a brief summary of the project that you are working on—an overview.
Introduction: This section includes the questions that the project(s) addresses—the hypothesis. It should also include a background, with references, that informs the reader about why the hypothetical questions are being asked. Everyone should be able to write this section. Ask questions and get papers the lab has previously published. You should understand the project that you are working on, even if your job is only one aspect of the project. This section should be well referenced.
Methods: What techniques are being used to answer the questions? Why are these techniques being used? What protocols are being used? What experimental subjects and groups? Again, you should understand this component even if you are not actually using the techniques. You can also reference other papers that have used these methods so you do not need to write out the methods.
Results: What data have you collected? If none, what are the results you might see?
Discussion: What do the results, either obtained or speculated, mean to the questions that you set out to answer? How will this advance the field?
Literature Cited: At least 3 primary literature articles must be cited in the text of your paper and listed under the literature cited section. Contact Dr. Bohn if you have questions.
Supervisor’s Evaluation of Work: If the student is working under the supervision of a faculty member other than the sponsor, the supervisor should certify that the work described in the report was completed and provide an evaluation of the quality of the work. This information can be written directly on the student’s report or in the form of a confidential letter to the sponsor.
Think of your paper as a work in progress. Talk to people in your lab about the project. When you are just starting out in a lab, the most you may be able to complete is the introduction. You should, however, be able to speculate on what the expected results are and then write how these results, if obtained, would address the questions the project addresses. Each semester that you work on the project, you should be able to add to the paper you are writing.