Franklin Pierce College Phenotypic plasticity in Laurel Sumac Essay

Franklin Pierce College Phenotypic plasticity in Laurel Sumac Essay

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Franklin Pierce College




Introduction: Phenotypic plasticity in Laurel Sumac

Now that you have thought about the factors that differ on a south-facing vs. a north-facing slope, its time to research the primary literature to support your ideas and communicate those to me. We will be following the format scientists use when writing the introduction section of a primary research article.

Introduction (suggested length ~-2-2.5 pages) The flow of information resembles an inverted triangle; it starts with general information and ends with your specific hypothesis.

The first paragraph should begin with “big picture” ideas. Think about how the experiment fits into a broader field of research. At this point, you don’t refer specifically to your experiment, but you want to set the stage for the next paragraph.

The second and third paragraphs should get more specific and discuss what is known about the specific topic within the broader field of research. Here, you communicate what was known before the experiments. You should also communicate why your experiment is necessary and how it contributes to the published literature. For example: Does it extend previous work? Does it address a new species, system, or habitat? Does it attempt to differentiate between conflicting results?

The second and third paragraphs should also provide background about the species, system, or habitat involved in the study that is relevant to understanding the hypothesis statement. Avoid sounding like an encyclopedia page here. Remember that you should be constructing an argument for why you think the experiment will turn out a certain way. Ideally you will be using other papers to provide support for your ideas. Logic is the next best alternative if you are having trouble finding primary research.

The last paragraph should briefly explain what you are going to do in the experiment. Since you are writing a methods section, you don’t want to go into detail here. End your paragraph by stating what will happen in your experiment. This is your hypothesis statement. Based on what the author has read in the rest of your introduction, this should make biological sense!

Literature Cited

This is a list of the scientific literature you referenced in your paper. If you read a paper to learn about your topic, but did not use it in the paper, you cannot cite it. Anything that you can find in a text-book or other secondary source should not be cited.

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