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BIO 101 - Research Paper (Winterrowd)

This guide is designed to help you complete Dr. Winterrowd's BIO 101 research guide.

2. Explore Your Topic

Magnifying Glass

After thoroughly examining your assignment, now it's time to learn more about a potential topic.  Your paper should be a more detailed exploration of a specific topic from your textbook or class lectures.  Your teacher has provided some possible topics below.  These are broad topics that will need to be narrowed down within your paper based on the sources that you find.  Your topics need to be approved by your teacher.

  • Causes and cures of specific plant or animal diseases   
  • Molecular and genetic processes of the cell
  • Evolutionary adaptations of the cell
  • Specific characteristics of prokaryotic or eukaryotic cells
  • Specific biochemistry of macromolecules, cells or organisms
  • Specific metabolic processes of the cell such as the light reactions of photosynthesis
  • Specific parts of the cell cycle or specific phases of mitosis or meiosis                                                                                    

To begin narrowing your topic, start by looking for general background information on your topic. You can look for background information pretty much anywhere (your textbook, even Wikipedia!), but we also recommend the database below. You can read the articles, or use the mind map to explore different or related aspects of the topic. Please note, background research will not be used as sources for your paper (they're not primary scientific peer-reviewed research), but it's a great way to start the exploratory phase of your research and also to get familiar with the topic and the vocabulary that goes with it.   Your assignment also provides more ideas for finding background information.


Analyze Your Topic

As you read and explore, take notes on the concepts and ideas that interest you. Write down what questions you have or areas that need further reading/exploration.

If you start with a large topic, write down potential sub-topics or smaller aspects that might make a good topic for your paper.

Also consider the following questions that will help you narrow and search for information later:

  • Write down any special vocabulary that you'll need to know in order to read further about this topic (they also might make good search keywords later)
  • What questions are raised or come to mind as your reading?
  • Do the articles mention what areas of this topic are under current study? or What discoveries have been made recently in this area?
  • What are some of the current mysteries or unknowns about this topic? What are some of the leading hypothesis scientists are working to explore?

Books & E-books

In addition to the tools above, you can browse the library's books and ebooks to search for additional background information on your topic and/or explore further ideas. Books will not count as science journal sources, but they still may provide valuable insight and information for you. If you have any questions, please Ask a Librarian.

Find Books

Use the search box below to search for books at the SCC Library.