Biology

Summer 2016 Dr. Jim Cox

Some things your instructor wants you to keep in mind

Most mistakes that cost students points on this assignment could be avoided by carefully reading the instructions.

Start by reading the instructions

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Pick only one of the 5 topics

Chose 1 of these 5

• (1) GM crops

• (2) GM microorganisms

• (3) GM animals

• (4) Personal genomics • aka Personalized Medicine

• (5) Gene Therapy

Writing about more than one topic will only hurt your grade.

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Don’t confuse a GM microorganism with a GM crop or animal

• You need a microscope to see a microorganism – GM microorganisms are usually bacteria or yeast

• Don’t mix and match topics – Writing about more than one topic will only hurt

your grade • So, for instance, please don’t tell me about both GM

crops and GM microorganisms. Pick one or the other.

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Don’t confuse GM crops with GM animals

• A “crop” is a plant, like corn, wheat, soybeans.

• Animals are animals (aka “livestock”) not “crops”

• You may find both on a farm, but I don’t want to hear about both in this particular paper

• This assignment calls for you to concentrate on just one topic

• Writing about more than one topic will only hurt your grade

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• (1) The technology and it’s biological basis

• (2) Pros and cons; societal/ethical concerns

• (3) Your position pro or con

Include all sections of the paper

Each section is worth 25% of the grade, so if you omit one it has a huge effect on your grade

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Use mostly your own words

When drawing from your sources, use the following techniques • Paraphrase: put the information from a source in your own

words • Summarize: extract the main point and emphasize those, in

your own words • Quote: Put the entire quoted part in quotation marks, provide

an in-text citation to go along with it. Just be sure not to overuse quotation.

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Higher education in the United States has a longstanding tradition of expecting students to use their

own words for assignments. There are very good reasons for this

Paraphrasing • Paraphrasing is a way to incorporate information

from sources into your paper • When you paraphrase a passage, you are “putting

it in your own words”. – Often you are condensing or summarizing. – You may be explaining it in simpler language.

• Paraphrasing is more than merely rearranging someone else’s words. – Take what you need for your paper and use your own

language, without borrowing too heavily from the exact words of the source.

Use APA-style for references

Dugan, A. (2014, October 7) One-fifth of Americans worry about getting Ebola. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/178097 /one-fifth-americans-worry-getting- ebola.aspx

Dugan, A. (2014, October 7) One-fifth of Americans worry about getting Ebola. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/178097 /one-fifth-americans-worry-getting- ebola.aspx

In-text citation [Dugan, 2014]

shows where this information comes from

In-text citation [Dugan, 2014]

shows where this information comes from

In-text citation shows where this

information comes from

In-text citation shows where this

information comes from

Use APA-style for in-text citations

Highlighted areas, show where words match-up word for word. They don’t much, which is good.

Use at least 3 good-quality references

• Material that is fact-checked*, such as a story in a prominent periodical

• Material that comes from a reliable source, such as a government agency, a university, or the website of a researcher

• Other reputable and reliable sources of accurate information

*peer-reviewed professional journals are usually too technical for our purposes, though their quality is generally the best available.

Nota Bene • Note: material that was previously written

as part of a classroom project is NOT considered good quality, especially student- papers from over 20 years ago

Your instructor does not consider the student papers posted at the aforementioned website to be quality references. All are 20+ years out-of-date and, although some are written well, others are poorly written.

STOP

I discourage the use of dictionary definitions as references

• You should already know what the term “biology” means, and so do I, so the definition isn’t at all helpful.

• To define other terms, refer to your textbook or to a high-quality source.

Dictionary {pronounced ‛dikSHəˌnerē} 1. (noun): a book or electronic

resource that consists of a lists of words in alphabetical order. Along with each word is an explanation of the word’s meaning, i.e., its definition, as well as information about how to pronounce the word and how it is typically used. 2. A document listing all the variables or data fields in a computer program or database, along with the data format and allowed values

What about Wikipedia?

• Do you forbid the use of Wikipedia, ASK.com, etc? – While I do not forbid the use of Wikipedia or similar

sources, I do strongly discourage you from using a them as a reference in your paper

• Wikipedia articles are of uneven style and quality – Other web sources can be even more uneven and of

uncertain value

• It’s okay to use Wikipedia to get ideas or as a starting point to find quality references, but it’s generally not considered a good source for formal college papers like this assignment

Suggested talking points for Section 1: Biological basis of the technology

• Which topic did you choose? What are some examples of this technology?

• What is a gene?

• What is the relationship between a gene and the characteristics of the organism?

• What technologies does genetic modification rely on?

Suggested talking points for Section 2, Social and Ethical Implications

• Note: I’m looking for an even-handed presentation here (save your opinion for Section 3)

• What are the possible benefits? • What are the possible risks? • What are the societal implications? (e.g.,

creating/destroying jobs; feeding hungry people; impacting markets; saving lives, etc).

• What are the ethical implications? (e.g., distributive justice; playing God; overturning established value system, etc.).

Suggested talking points for Section 3: Your position

• What is your position about the technology?

– e.g. for/against; supportive/unsupportive; concerned/unconcerned; for strict oversight vs. laissez faire oversight

• And most importantly why

– What assumptions, facts and logic underlie your position?

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