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BIO 101 - Research Project

1. Getting Started

Exclamation PointFirst Things First - Assignment Requirements

Before you begin work on any research project, examine the assignment closely for any requirements. 

Q. How long is the paper? 

Confirm on your assignment sheet, but your topic paper should be at least 3 pages long.

Q. How long is the presentation? 

Confirm on your assignment sheet, but your presentation should be no more than 20 slides. The time length for the presentation is 8 minutes.

Q. How many sources?

How many total sources does your instructor ask for; are they all outside sources or does your textbook count as one of your sources?

Q. What kind of sources?

Your topic paper should have at least 3 outside sources. Your presentation should include 10 sources. At least 3 sources should be text sources used in your paper. The remaining sources may be pictures, figures, and other visual media you will use in the presentation.

Sources may include credible websites, books, articles, videos, pictures, etc. Sources must have an identifiable author.

Do not use direct quotes in your assignment. You must paraphrase the information from your sources in your own words. 

Q. How do you cite sources?

Most instructors will ask you to use MLA format for your citations, but double-check to make sure. You may want to remind yourself what information you need to create the MLA Works Cited page and in-text citations.

Q. What is due?

You will have to submit a research paper and do a presentation for this assignment.  Make note of all the parts of the assignment and create a checklist to make sure you don't leave anything out.

Q. When is it due?

How long do you have to work on this project? Is there one due date for everything or are there multiple due dates for different parts of the assignment?  Plan out your time, so you don't get stuck doing all the work at the last minute. Plan extra time in case you have problems or get stuck.

Q. What other requirements should you make note of? 

Make note of any other requirements on the assignment sheet, and ask your instructor for clarification on any parts you're not sure about.

You will record and submit your presentation using Panopto Video Capture Software. Instructions for Recording Class Projects with Panopto can be found here. If you have additional questions about Panopto after reviewing the instructions, please contact SCCOnline by email at or by phone at 864-592-4961.

Selecting a Topic

The first thing you need to do before you begin a research project is to select a topic that you're going to write about. Consider the following:

Q. Do you have a choice?

You may choose a Biology-related topic of interest to you. You must pick a topic that is found within Chapter 12 (Evolutionary Changes), 36 (Animal Behavior), 37 (Populations), 38 (Communities and Ecosystems), 39 (Biomes), or 40 (Preserving Biodiversity).

Q. Do you have an interest?

If you have a choice on what topic you can choose, consider which one you find the most interesting.  Which topic do you think would be the easiest to research? Which topic would you have the most to say about?

Q. Are there sources?

Before you totally commit to a topic, you'll want to make sure that there are enough outside sources on the topic for your assignment. Not every topic is going to have information written about it. Newer topics or topics that aren't as well known may be harder to find sources for.  Do some searching in the library's databases to make sure there are sources, and Ask-A-Librarian to double-check if you're not sure there are enough sources for a topic you're really interested in.