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A few helpful hints … To consider when writing your research essay in 4U0 science K. Marsh Glenforest Resource Centre Dr. D. McNally Glenforest Science.

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Presentation on theme: "A few helpful hints … To consider when writing your research essay in 4U0 science K. Marsh Glenforest Resource Centre Dr. D. McNally Glenforest Science."— Presentation transcript:

1 A few helpful hints … To consider when writing your research essay in 4U0 science K. Marsh Glenforest Resource Centre Dr. D. McNally Glenforest Science Department

2 AIMS of the Research Essay in Science The Goals of the extended essay: The first rule to successful writing: Know your audience Pursue independent research on a focused topic Develop research & communication skills Engage in the systematic process of research Experience the excitement of intellectual discovery

3 Scientific Writing Is or Isn’t.... It isn’t creative writing (grammar etc. still applies!) It is clever, upbeat, concise and has purpose (it conveys your research journey & argument) & is elegant It is a form of technical writing with its own style & format It is a well organized, clearly articulated argument that is supported by fact - your findings (avoid speculation & sweeping generalizations)

4 Student Expectations Pursue a research project with intellectual initiative Formulate a precise research question Gather & interpret material from appropriate sources Structure a reasoned argument in response to the research question

5 Advice from Reviewers for Science Essays Students should not work with a research question that Is too broad, too vague or too difficult Choosing to write an essay in a subject that is not being studied often leads to lower marks Students should not merely describe or report (this isn’t a book report) Before beginning, students should read & understand the criteria that will be used to mark their essays

6 Advice from Reviewers for Science Essays After completing the essay: Write the abstract Edit / proofread the final version carefully to ensure that the essay follows the proper format, is clear, concise and that the results answer the original research question

7 Getting Started

8 Getting started: The Research Process Choose a topic Formulate a well-focussed research question Plan the investigation & writing process Plan a structure for the essay Undertake some preparatory reading Modify/change the question Carry out the investigation

9 What is a Great Research Question? A question that asks something worth asking It should be clear, concise and focussed A question you are interested in / passionate about

10 What is a Great Research Question? “ A great research question is focussed, open ended and avoids dead ends ” Examples of dead ends & unfocussed topics: Why is Duchene Muscular Dystrophy more prevalent in men compared to women? Are women better than men at handling stress? Are household cleaners and domestic pesticides toxic to earthworms?

11 Where are the best sources of information to use Science? Websites are not policed for accuracy, I would be reluctant to use them (they are not accepted in scientific research). Newspapers are also inappropriate. Books are good sources, but they tend to be too old (5 years and older is too old in science!) Journals are by far the best source. I wouldn’t use anything older than 2000 (Google, pubmed etc.)

12 What is a Great Research Question? Examples of suitable research questions: Does ethylene affect the ripening of apples, pears & bananas equally? Do different methods of roasting coffee beans affect their caffeine content? The effect of different pH levels on the growth of Phaseolus vulgaris

13 Consider the Following Questions: Is this a focussed research question? Is the question important? How do you know that the student was interested in this work? Was the experiment(s)/methods used simple? Did the experiment answer the question? What did they find? (were results easily quantifiable?)

14 Academic Honesty When it comes to plagiarizing – DON’T DO IT! In academia, your name is everything! You will never be penalized for over using citations If it feels like cheating.....it probably is Plagiarizing is unethical: it undermines the spirit of higher learning & you are robbing a writer of their ability to earn a living

15 Dr. M’s dos and don’ts of scientific writing If you don’t know the meaning of a word – don’t use it, or look it up! If you have nothing more to say – don’t say anything more (the dilution effect) words is the max. Structure your results so they are discussed from weakest to strongest Read, read, read and then read some more

16 Learn how to edit your own writing Explain your work to your parents/guardian, if they understand it, the level of clarity is acceptable In research, only 30% of actual results are published The written word is permanent. Always Be very careful what writing you sign your name to Dr. M’s dos and don’ts of scientific writing

17 Good Luck!


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