The Scenario:  Your friend Bob asks you to sign a Change.org petition to encourage your Congressman to propose a bill that would outlaw all stem cell research and treatments.  The reason given for this petition is that stem cells come from aborted fetuses.

Assignment:  Write a response to your friend explaining what stem cells are and where they come from, making sure to clarify the factual misconception(s) in the petition. Your response needs to accurately explain stem cell biology and be well supported. Don’t forget to review the rubric!

Please note: a large portion of your grade on this paper will be based on how well you identify the misconception(s) your friend has, and how well you correctly “debunk” the misconception(s) with correct information. Please make sure you have done this – you may write a fantastic explanation of what stem cells are, but if you do not discuss the specific misconceptions you will score poorly.

Below are the general instructions for the writing assignments for each module. Pay attention to the instructions about the structure of the paper!

Biology 101 Writing Assignment Guidelines

The written assignments are designed to provide opportunities for the student to find, evaluate, select, synthesize, organize, cite, and present information and arguments clearly and effectively for understanding scientific issues on personal, societal, and global levels.  This requirement is designed to help students achieve the University-wide Student Learning Outcomes (UPS 300.003) specifically to “communicate clearly, effectively, and persuasively, both orally and in writing”. (See:http://www.fullerton.edu/senate/publications_policies_resolutions/ups/UPS%20300/UPS%20300.003.pdf)

It is important that your assignments are thoroughly researched and clearly written.  You should define all your terms and be concise.  These assignments are designed to give you the experience of applying your knowledge of biology to a current controversy or topic of interest.  You will use the same sort of method that you will later use as an informed citizen and consumer when making decisions that involve biology. You should review the relevant chapters in your textbook, other course materials and use other sources to fill in missing information when necessary.

The structure of your paper

  • Be sure to cover the points mentioned in each individual assignment and define all technical terms that you use in your own words.  Your paper needs to be written so the average person can understand it.
  • You are encouraged to use first and/or second person in all of these writing assignments. You may address your friend “Bob” directly.
  • Your paper must be between 1/2 -1 page (not including references).  The second page is only for the complete references of the material cited in your paper.  Any portion of your text on the second page will not be read or graded. Your paper should be double-spaced with one-inch margins, using 12 point Times New Roman font.  No cover page or heading is required (the body of your paper should begin on the first line of the first page).
  • You are not allowed to include any quotes in your paper.  All of your writing must be original. You must properly paraphrase ideas from the literature, even if you provide an in-text citation.
  • Information and ideas that are properly paraphrased must be accompanied by proper in-text citations in the body of your paper and a corresponding reference in American Psychological Association (APA) format. Note: only the references need to be in APA, other APA formatting items (such as a title page and abstract) should not be included.
  • You need to review your paper for format, spelling, grammar and usage errors before you submit it, or you will lose points.
  • Please also review the grading rubric before submitting your paper to make sure that you have done everything you can to receive a good grade.

Outside Sources

Primary Sources You may find information in the “primary literature,” which is where the research was originally published.  You can find these articles by using CSUF’s on-line search engines, or by asking for the help of a CSUF librarian.  Examples of the primary literature include ScienceNatureProceedings of the National Academy, and Genetics.

Secondary Sources You may find relevant articles in recent newspapers, popular magazines, or popular science journals.  These are referred to as “secondary” sources, since they describe research that was published elsewhere.  Examples of these include The New York TimesThe Los Angeles TimesThe GuardianTimeScientific AmericanDiscoverNew Scientist, and Science News.

Websites: If you choose to use a website, be aware that most websites are not peer-reviewed, and often present inaccurate information.  Examples of excellent websites include those of the National Academy of Science, the National Institute of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and WebMD. If you are unsure of the appropriateness of a website, check with your instructor.  Alternatively, the CSUF library has an excellent guide to evaluating websites at http://library.fullerton.edu/ under Guides for Undergraduates.  Wikipedia is not an appropriate website for research in a college course.

Guidelines for citing references

In-Text Citations are REQUIRED for any information included in your paper (everything that is not common knowledge or opinion)

In-text citations should be in APA format.  You can find a summary of APA guidelines for your citations at:  https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/

NOTE:  Any course materials used to complete these assignments must also be properly cited in your paper.

Reference Page is REQUIRED and should include all sources cited in text

Your references should be formatted using APA guidelines.  You can find a summary of APA guidelines for your reference page at: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/05/

The Purdue OWL: Citation Chart is a quick reference on how to format citations and references using different formats, including APA can be found at: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/media/pdf/20110928111055_949.pdf

 

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