Students: Research Paper
Checklist for Papers in the Biological Sciences
Global checklist (for content)
- Have you understood your assignment?
- Have you followed the format, required by your instructor?
- Are you presenting a logical argument?
- Do you have a clear hypothesis or thesis that your readers can comprehend?
- Can the audience understand your study in each of the major sections (Abstract, Introduction, etc.)?
- Have you presented an organized and well-developed paper so that the readers can precisely follow your thoughts and reproduce the experiment?
- Are the paragraphs indented, and do they have transitional phrases and topic sentences? Have you avoided slang, redundancy, vague words(such as this, that, it, and which), and jargon?
- Have you included and developed your own thoughts and analyses in the Introduction and Discussions sections?
- Have you referred to an organism by its scientific name (taxonomic information)if you are using the name for the first time in the paper?
- Have you used an organism's generic (common) name if you are referring to the name more than once (depends on the instructor's request)?
- Have you kept your audience in mind?
- Have you been general to specific in the Introduction section?
- Have you been specific to general in the Discussions section?
- Have you gotten any feedback from your instructor?
- Have you seen a tutor or a friend to get some feedback on your paper?
- Have you used the present tense to refer to established knowledge in the Introduction?
- Have you described your present findings in the past tense?
- Are the Abstract, Materials and Methods, and Results sections in the past tense?
- Is the scientific name underlined (both genus and species with one line)?
- Is the first letter of the genus capitalized? Is lowercase used for the first letter of the species (i.e., Homo sapiens for the first time, and H. sapiens when used more than once)?
- Are you using abbreviated units without a period after them (i.e., Centimeter-->Cm; hour--> hr, h) except when they come at the end of a sentence?
- Have you used passive voice for Materials and Methods section when you want to focus attention on materials, not yourself?
- Have you relied mostly on active voice throughout your paper?
- Have you discussed previously published information in the Discussions section in the present tense?
- Have you used the present tense in the Acknowledgments?
- Have you paid attention to other grammatical rules that are used in the humanities papers (i.e., subject-verb agreement, avoiding run-ons and fragments, etc.)?
- Have you proofread or gotten feedback on your paper?