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BIO582 - Human Anatomy and Physiology: Home

Tips for Success


  • Know how to spell your scientific concepts correctly
  • Know alternative names/spellings 
  • In the sciences, you are not so much concerned with a thesis; your main focus is to explain aspects clearly.
  • Start Early. Proper research takes time.  
  • The better your research, the easier writing the paper will be.  



Citation Forms

When writing this paper, you will be using the MLA format.  MLA uses parenthetical references (instead of footnotes).  If you have any questions, please see a librarian at the help desk for assistance with using the MLA Handbook..


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The Assignment

Excerpted from the handout "The Pathology Investigation" found on your CANVAS course page for Biology 582: Anatomy and Physiology.

Assignment #1: Topic Selections (Fri Dec 9)
Submit a one-paragraph explanation of the proposed topic as a .pdf on canvas (this makes it easy for me to bounce ideas back to you). You should include the general topic (normal system and pathology/disorder you are focusing on), as well as any ideas you have about the specific angle.  This is a great time to ask me for advice or if there’s any specifics that I know about which might help narrow the topic.

Assignment #2: Proposal (Fri Dec 16)
In the proposal, you should present (upload as a .pdf on canvas)

  1. The topic that you’re investigating
  2. the specific angle you are using in studying it.  What question are you trying to answer? What is your hypothesis/claim/thing you want to resolve? 
  3. Your actual position that you’re arguing for.  You may or may not know what your final argument is, depending on how much you already have learned about the topic, but you should be able to describe what positions might exist that you will eventually decide amongst, or have a clear idea of what you’re trying to learn enough about to argue for.
  4. 5 citations of relevant articles that you can use in your research.
    1. References for 5 articles that are directly relevant to your project.  You may need to read titles and abstracts for many more to find the best ones.  Make sure the articles are both truly on the topic and at a level suited to your project and knowledge.  You don’t want to be hopelessly lost after the second sentence, but you also don’t want to be at the popular press level all the time either.
    2. Write complete references for these (use a common format for all references) and explain how each article will support your topic/thesis.  If you find articles on the Web, evaluate them carefully to determine the author and his/her credentials.  There are lots of sites with 6th hand medical advice and information out there (these are not the references you are looking for).  References URL’s carefully and with complete documentation.

Assignment #3: Brief outline + sources (Fri Jan 13)
For the brief outline, you should be able to envision the broad structure of your paper.  Start an outline (skeletal) including major points you want to include, in a logical order – showing that you know how you’re going to use information to build towards the argument you’re making.  Include in-text citations (author’s last name, year) – example, (Johnson, 2007) - in the appropriate places so that they will be there as you build around and fill in your outline.  PLEASE USE A LITERATURE CITED FORMAT RATHER THAN FOOTNOTES and then include a complete list of all references at the end in alphabetical order by author’s last name.

Assignment #4: Detailed outline (Fri Jan 27)
Continue filling in your outline with lots of details and specifics.  Make sure that you include citations as you use the information (in parentheses in text) and be very careful to avoid unintended plagiarism.  The best way to avoid this is to 1. Never copy/paste any text from a source! 2. Always write the information in your own words right from the beginning.  Also include a bibliography (in alphabetical order by author’s last name, in your chosen common format).

Assignment #5: 1st “Final” version (Fri Feb 10)
This submission should represent your best effort at researching and arguing for a specific position regarding something pathology-related.  Final project – 5-7 pages, very focused, well-organized, well-written, edited, and cited.  1.5 spacing, 11pt font, 1inch margins.  Please submit as a .pdf electronic file to canvas.

Assignment #6: Peer review (Fri Feb 17)
For this assignment, you will be asked to peer review 2 other students’ papers.  Using the peer review worksheet, you will prepare a letter to the author where you comment on the work, addressing points of strength as well as areas which could be improved.  Note: this is not a time where you re-write someone else’s paper; the goal is to suggest changes which will further strengthen the work.  So, you would not point out every single instance of a typo, but would give a few examples along with the comment “needs further editing for grammar”.  You might note that one area lacks sufficient evidence to support a point being made, or that no citations are presented, or that the writing is difficult to follow in a certain segment.  The actual changes will be for authors to make – you’re just there as a new set of eyes to point things out from a different perspective.

Assignment #7: Revised “Final” version (Th Feb 23)
This submission should be a revised version taking into account the commentary from peer review.  The hope is that you have taken a great project and made it even better!

Writing Guidelines: (common themes that can help you write better)

First person: often more engaging, easier to follow academic integrity guidelines clearly

Interpretation/personal hypothesis: what do you contribute to this paper intellectually?  After accumulating other peoples’ intellectual work, how do you use that as a starting point to add your own thoughts to this topic?

Target audience: non-expert with general education

Figures can be worth a thousand words!

Adjectives and short descriptive phrases are tremendously useful in helping to remind a reader of a complex argument using technical terms.  Ex., when describing a specific pathway instead of just saying, “protein A catalyzes a reaction where precursor B is cleaved into products C and D”, instead write “the stress-activated protein A catalyzes a reaction where inactive precursor B is cleaved into products C and D, which function respectively to stimulate energy metabolism and increase hunger; in this way, the use of energy and desire to get more by eating is regulated by stress via the molecular mechanism of protein A”.  You may do a great job of introducing this pathway in one paragraph, or each individual protein player, but a page or two later your reader will have forgotten those details.  So, for the rest of the paper keep referring to things with a short adjective to help prompt your reader’s memory of each key function (in this example, forevermore always refer to product C as “metabolism-activating C” or similar)

Human Anatomy

Instructional Librarian