How to write a biology research paper

The average student knows how to ramble and extemporize their way through an English or Communications paper. Whether it is a research paper, a persuasive essay, or an informative essay, some degree of literary flourish can be used to reach your world count goal and wow your professor. If you’re writing a paper for a Biology class, however, you may find the writing process a great deal more difficult. Below is a guide to writing a research paper in one of the applied sciences.

Writing for the sciences is tricky

When composing a paper for a science course, science honor’s thesis, or science based semester project, writing appropriately is crucial. Unlike in English classes, you cannot be informal or lapidary in your writing at all whatsoever. No irony, parallelism, metaphor, simile, or other literary references or techniques should be used at any point in the paper. You should generally stick to objective and clear language that every reader could interpret in the exact same way.

How to write properly in the sciences

Science professors generally do not have much patience for cute literary tricks and rambling prose. You should be succinct in your Biology papers, and get right to the point. You should also avoid vagueness at all costs. Do not say that introducing a chemical to a petri dish caused ‘some growth’ of algae, for example. Instead, describe in a precise, quantifiable way exactly how much growth there was, and contrast this with the other petri dish.

Provide all relevant data and figures at all times. Err on the side of being too thorough with the information you dispense. If you are describing algae growth in two distinct petri dishes, provide the reader with information on the conditions, including temperature, amount of fluid included in the petri dish, chemical composition of the petri dish, species of algae, chemical composition of all additives, time of day and weather conditions when the experiment was conducted, and so on. When describing your experimental procedure, be similarly specific. Paste data points in figures and tables, and include all the information you have available.

What to avoid in your paper

In your biology paper, you should avoid taking any knowledge for granted. Do not make a factual assertion or theoretical claim, even if it seems obvious, unless you have a citation to back it up. Do not make a claim of causality unless you have full experimental support for a cause-effect relationship. Be completely straightforward with your readership.

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