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Introduction to Biology : SCI120 Research Project Lesson 8 Overview During your study of biology, you may have found a controversial topic or two espe

Introduction to Biology : SCI120 Research Project
Lesson 8 Overview
During your study of biology, you may have found a controversial topic or two

especially interesting. This assignment gives you an opportunity to apply what
you’ve learned by researching additional sources and increasing your knowledge
of one controversial topic.
8.1 Summarize complex biological issues using research articles
SCI120 Research Project
To complete this examination, follow these steps:
1. Use a word processing program, preferably Microsoft Word, to complete the examination.
2. At the top of every page, include your name and student number.
3. Be sure to save your work. If you don’t have access to Microsoft Word, you must properly format your document by clicking Save As, naming it using the student number_exam number format (for example, 12345678_007175), and choosing File Type: Rich Text Format. This exam must be uploaded as a .doc or .rtf file to be graded electronically.
To submit your exam, follow these steps:
1. From your student portal, click Take Exam next to the lesson you’ve completed.
2. Be sure to save your work.
3. Attach your file as follows:
1. Click on the Browse box.
2. Locate the file you wish to attach.
3. Double-click on the file.
4. Click on Upload File.
4. Click on Submit Files.
5. After you’ve submitted your project, you’ll be able to see it by clicking View Project.
Before you begin your graded project, visit the Biology page of the Penn Foster Virtual
Library (pflibrary.pennfoster.edu/c.php?g=589955) for tips on writing your research paper as well as helpful links and videos.
Additionally, make sure you’ve registered for the Research Paper and APA Formatting
webinar, available as a supplement in this lesson and as a link in the Research Paper Resources on the Library page.
Read the instructions for research papers included as a supplement to this lesson. Then,
select a topic from the following choices:
Human stem cells
Genetically modified foods
Zoos and wildlife parks (conservation of species)
Use of vaccinations
Designer babies
Consult resources other than your reading assignments. Examples of resources include
textbooks, journal articles, and reputable websites. Reputable online sources include
encyclopedias and university or government websites. Never use Wikipedia as a source for a
research paper. Prepare a detailed report on the topic you choose, including these elements:
1. Describe the background and basic issue of your chosen topic.
2. Describe the basic argument of opposing viewpoints. 3. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of both views.
4. Choose which view you agree with (only in the conclusion).
5. Explain why you agree with that view.
Incorporate the information you learned about your chosen topic from this course, but don’t
limit your discussion to the textbook and study guide. Take advantage of external resources
to provide an in-depth, comprehensive report.
This assignment is designed to help you apply what you’ve learned from your lessons by
researching and writing about a controversial topic you’ve studied and to give you an
opportunity to demonstrate your written communication, research, and critical thinking skills.
Writing Guidelines
1. Type your submission, double-spaced, in a Times New Roman font, size 12. Use a
standard document format with 1-inch margins. (Don’t use any fancy or cursive fonts.)
2. Read the assignment carefully, and address the topic suggested.
3. Be specific. Limit your submission to the topic suggested.
4. Use proper APA formatting. Include in-text citations and a reference page in APA style. On this page, list websites, journals, and all other references used in preparing the
submission. Also, include a cover page and in-text citations. For assistance with this
project and APA in-text citations and references, please see the Biology page in the Penn Foster Virtual Library (pflibrary.pennfoster.edu/c.php?g=589955) .
5. Proofread your work carefully. Check for correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and
Grading Criteria
Your paper will be graded according to the following rubric.
SCI120 Research Paper Grading Rubric
Skill Realized
100–90 Skill Developing
90–80 Skill Emerging
80–70 Skill Not
70 Points Total
Intro and
The student described the chosen topic.
__/5 points The topic is defined in detail and history/background is given.
5 points The topic is defined, but there’s no history or background given.
4 points The topic is defined incorrectly, and the history isn’t given.
2 points There’s no definition or attempt at background info/history.
1 point

The student described the basic argument of an opposing viewpoint/presented the controversy. __/10 points The student states that there’s a debate and gives a brief summary of the debate.
10 points The student states that there’s a debate but offers no summary.
7 points It can be inferred that there’s a debate, but not stated within the first two paragraphs.
5 points There’s no mention of a controversy or debate. 1 point
The student explained the pros and cons of the topic with detail and examples.
The student identified the strengths and weaknesses of both views and clearly evaluated the arguments.
__/35 points Pros and cons are defined and explained, examples are given, and critical analysis is made.
There’s an explicit explanation of why the point is a pro or con and whether the point is valid. The reader doesn’t need to infer anything.
35 points Pros and cons are defined, but some examples are missing or some critical analysis and evaluation of points is missing.
Minimal inferring for pros/cons (not every point is explicit).
30 points At least one pro and one con are listed. There’s no evaluation of the validity of different points, just definitions and examples. More informative than evaluative.
20 points The writing is strictly informative. Pros and cons aren’t described, nor can they be inferred.
10 points
Language used was clear and correct.
__/5 points The spelling and grammar were correct, and language was clear. Words were used correctly.
5 points Writing included some vague language or mistakes. There were fewer than five spelling or grammar issues.
4 points Writing included vague language as well as five or six spelling or grammar issues. There was also incorrect word usage.
3 points Writing included more than six grammar or spelling issues. There was also vague language and unclear wording. 1 point
The student chose a view that he or she agreed with. __/5 points The conclusion clearly stated whether the student was pro, con, or undecided. 5 points An opinion was inferred to be pro, con, or undecided.
4 points An opinion was attempted but inconsistent. 2 points There’s no opinion on the debate either given or inferred. 1 point

The student supports his or her stance with facts and clearly explains the reasoning for his or her chosen view.
__/10 points The student gives at least two reasons for his or her opinion and supporting provides research.
10 points The student gives one reason for his or her opinion and provides supporting research, or the student simply gives more than one reason for his or her opinion.
8 points The student gives one reason for his or her opinion but fails to provide supporting research.
4 points There’s no reason given for the student’s opinion on the topic.
1 point
Formatting 30 Points Total
Cover Page
The student includes a cover page at the beginning of the paper.
__/5 points The cover includes the following: title, author’s name, student ID, course title/exam number, date, school name, and email address.
5 points The cover is missing any of the following: title, author, student ID, course title/exam number, date, school name, and email address.
4 points No cover/title page is present, but identification information is listed on the top of the paper.
3 points No cover/title page or student information is provided. 0 points
The student includes references in APA formatting at the end of the paper. __/10 points References are in APA format with no errors.
10 points A reference page is included with fewer than three formatting errors.
8 points A reference page is attempted, but there are more than three formatting errors.
6 points No references are provided.
0 points
The student includes in-text citations in APA formatting throughout the paper that coincide with the references and show where all information comes from. Paraphrasing and quote formatting are correct.
__/10 points All citations are in APA format.
Citations are present where required. All references have citations.
10 points Most citation information is provided and in the correct format.
8 points Some citations are attempted. A few quotes are cited but not formatted as quotes.
4 points No citations are included.
0 points
If no references or citations are included, you’ll receive a 1% on your paper for plagiarism.
The student adhered to the following formatting requirements:
12-point, normal font
1-inch margins
3–5 pages
__/5 points All formatting requirements are met.
5 points One formatting requirement is missing.
4 points Two formatting requirements are missing. 3 points More than two formatting requirements are missing. 0 points
Preparing for the Proctored Exam
Read these tips on preparing for a proctored exam. Then, return to your student portal and complete your proctored exam. Note: Your course materials may be used when taking the proctored exam.
Please note: The Biology proctored examination is open-book. You’re encouraged to
use your course materials and notes to answer the questions during this one-hour
To prepare for a proctored exam means reviewing the assigned material. This doesn’t mean
you need to study everything again. Some of the material you already know or remember,
and some you’ll have forgotten.
Scan your course and ask yourself, “Do I know this, or don’t I?” If you know the material,
then skip it. If you don’t know some of the material or aren’t sure about it, take the time to
reread and restudy that section, and rework the exercises associated with that section.
One way to prepare for the proctored exam is to make notes. Just because you’ve written
notes once doesn’t mean you know the material. Rewrite your notes. And, don’t try to cram
them all on one page. Each time you rewrite your notes, ask yourself the fundamental
question: “Do I know this, or don’t I?” If you do, skip it. The idea here is to keep rewriting your
notes until you can get them down to a few pages.
When taking a proctored exam, you should know the material. You don’t have time to look up
the answer or try to figure out how to work a problem using the example in the reading
assignments. Getting your notes down to a page or two tells you that you know almost all of
what you need to know. If something you don’t know comes up on the exam, you can quickly look at your notes to refresh your memory about it.
Scanning and rewriting notes seems like a lot of work. It all depends on how much you know
from previously studying the material. However, scanning/rewriting will give you a good
chance to earn a strong grade on a proctored exam.
What to Do When Taking the Proctored Exam
Proctored exams are very different from lesson exams. Proctored exams consist of essay
questions, short-answer questions, and exercise or problem-solving questions. They aren’t
multiple-choice, true-or-false, or fill-in-the-blank questions (with only a few exceptions).
The structure of proctored exams may differ depending on the subject. Generally, a
proctored exam consists of more heavily weighted questions or longer, multistep problem
questions. As an example, there may be two or three questions that are each worth a greater
number of points. Then, the remainder of the exam will have short-answer and less-lengthy
problems to work, which will have lower point values.
Time management during the exam is very important. Many students start the exam by
looking at the first question, reading it, and then immediately starting to answer it. But, too
much time may be spent at the beginning, and as a result, you don’t get a chance to answer
all the exam questions.
A better way to take the exam is to scan all the exam questions before answering questions. For example, if the exam’s Part A has three 20-point questions, and Part B has ten 4-point
questions, you have a better idea of how to budget your time. Read the instructions. In some
cases, you might be told to answer two out of three 20-point questions. Some students
answer all three questions instead of the two required, wasting valuable time. Be sure to
read the instructions thoroughly.
Remember to budget your time. You have 60 minutes to complete the exam. For example:
Reviewing the instructions and the exam questions may take, say, 4 minutes. As you read each question, ask yourself, “Do I know this, or don’t I?” If you do,
write the answer down. Answer the questions you know the answer to first. If you
don’t know the answer or are unsure, skip over the question and come back to it
after answering questions you’re surer of.

With three 20-point questions, you might decide to spend 12 minutes on each question
for a total of 36 minutes.

Having spent 4 minutes scanning, and budgeting 36 minutes for the more heavily
weighted questions, total time adds up to 40 minutes. Twenty minutes remain to
complete the short-answer questions.

Each exam is different. You have to decide how to best manage your time.
You may complete some of the questions in less time than you’ve allotted. This may give you
extra unused time toward the end of the hour to go back and work on questions you’re
having difficulty answering. This is the time to look at your notes or go back into the textbook
to jog your memory. If you finish more quickly than you planned, use your spare time wisely. Think about where you can use that time to capture the greatest number of points. If you’ve
no clue about a particular question but have some idea about another question, your time
might be better spent answering the question you know you may get right.
Showing your work on a math problem may help improve your score. Math exams require
you to show your work, and partial credit is given where it makes sense. A student who does
the process correctly but makes a small error will come up with an incorrect answer. Yet
instead of deducting all the points for that question, the instructor may deduct fewer points
depending on the mistake. For example, if there are four steps in solving a problem and the
student stops at step three, forgetting to do the last step, partial credit may be given. However, if a student only provides an answer without showing his or her work and the
answer is incorrect, then the full points for the question must be deducted.
Taking a Proctored Exam Using the Online Option
Things to consider before deciding whether to take the proctored exam remotely (online) or
on paper include the following:
Typing skills. You should have good typing skills if you want to take the remote proctored
exam. If you’re not confident in your ability to think and type quickly at the same time, you
might be better off completing the paper version. Typing to show your work is a little more
challenging if you’re not used to entering math problems electronically. Some find it better to
complete the work on paper first and then typing it in. However, this takes more time since
you’re writing the work twice.
Running out of time. Students may run out of time before finishing the exam for several

As discussed previously, having weak typing skills (speed) is one reason students may
not finish.

Starting to answer the first question without having scanned the exam first may lead to
spending more time on individual questions than you should, and you may run out of
time before completing the exam.

Math exams generally are open book, so you can refer to your textbook, reading
material, or notes. However, some students spend too much time looking up examples
or formulas and not enough time answering the questions on the exam because they’re
unprepared. Be sure you have a good understanding of the material so you don’t have
to refer to the books as often.

Many students need to work out problems on scratch paper first. They’ll then type the
solution, showing their work on the exam. This may take more time and is another
reason why students don’t complete all the questions on a proctored exam.
Which Is Best for You?
Online Proctored Exams versus Traditional Proctored Exams
Students generally choose the remote option because they don’t want to find a local proctor,
which is required when taking the paper proctored exam. Remote proctoring may be more
convenient; however, not all proctored exams can be taken remotely. Finding a proctor may
be necessary at some point, depending on the program in which you’re enrolled.
Everyone has taken paper exams some time in his or her life, with someone supervising in a
classroom. Yet not everyone has taken a proctored exam using a computer. If you have
confidence in your abilities to take a proctored exam online, by all means, you should do so. However, you may have the knowledge to score well taking an exam on paper but not feel
comfortable typing when taking a math exam. In that case, you may be better off taking a
traditional (paper) proctored exam.
Remember, the proctored exam is worth /3 of your course grade, so select the method that
will allow you to do the best you can on the exam.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can I use my books, reading materials, or notes on the proctored exam?
Answer: You’re permitted to bring your notes and reading materials to use during this exam. All exams are open-book unless otherwise specified. You may also use a calculator during
your exams.
Question: I’m an e-book student/my learning material is all digital. Can I use a
computer to access my books and lessons during the exam?
Answer: If you’re in an e-book program or are in a course for which your courses are only
provided digitally, you’re permitted to use a computer during the exam. However, you may
only use a computer to access your e-books and reading material. You’re only permitted to
use the computer for exams covering courses that have digital-only materials.
It’s your proctor’s responsibility to monitor your use of a computer during the exam, so advise
them of this when informing them of their duties as a proctor. Any unauthorized use of a
computer during the proctored exam will result in the invalidation of all of your exams. If
suspected, you’ll receive a grade of 1 on each of your exams and be required to retake each
of them. The highest grade you can receive on these retake exams is 70.
Question: What types of questions are included in the proctored examination?
Answer: Most of the questions are subjective, including both essay questions and numerical
problems. The examination may also contain objective questions, such as multiple-choice
and matching items. Students aren’t allowed to use computer software such as Excel for
Research Project Tips
Your curriculum is designed to prepare you for a professional career. No matter what that
career may be, you’ll need to be able to follow specific directions, research information, write
effectively, convey factual information and ideas to others, maintain ethical standards, think critically, and produce focused, informative documents that are free of errors. To help you
develop and perfect these skills, Penn Foster Schools requires you to complete research
projects and writing assignments in many of the courses throughout your curriculum. These
projects are related to the specific subject matter you’re studying.
Organization of a Research Project
Your research project may consist of either a topic that you must research and develop into a
paper or a series of questions that you must answer.
If your project involves a research paper, your paper should have three parts:
1. Introduction. The introduction should be a short paragraph of around three to five
sentences in which you clearly state the purpose of your paper.
2. Body. The body should consist of a number of paragraphs in which you develop the
purpose you included in the introduction. In the body, you should clearly and completely
explain the purpose. To do this, add facts, details, and examples from your research. To
write a clear and complete explanation, you should research more than just one website
or article. Remember: You’re not writing your opinion. Rather, you’re clearly explaining
the concept and why it’s important, required, necessary, controversial, and so on to a
reader who has no prior knowledge of the subject. Since the reader is presumed to
know nothing of the subject, you must cover the material completely and thoroughly so
that the reader gains a firm understanding without having to go to any other source of
3. Conclusion. In the conclusion, you restate your purpose and bring your paper to a close
by providing a final insight into your research or the significance of your topic.
If your project involves a series of questions, make sure to answer each question in a
complete paragraph or two. Include an introductory sentence, a paragraph of explanation,
and a concluding sentence. These three elements should include the same information as
the introduction, body, and conclusion of a research paper.
References and Citations
References and citations are essential parts of a research project. Now, you’ll
explore exactly what these are.
At the end of your project, you must include a separate page that includes a properly
formatted listing of all materials used from any outside source. The list should include any
books, magazines, journals, newspapers, interviews, websites, and other electronic
resources that you’ve used in gathering information. Each reference should have at least one
corresponding citation in the text of your project. The purpose of the reference list is to
provide the reader with enough information to find your sources.
Whenever you use information from an outside source, you must indicate that the
information isn’t your own but belongs to someone else. You must show (in your written
document wherever the information appears) where you found the information and give
credit to the original author. Any time you use a word-for-word quote, restate another
person’s ideas but change the wording, or summarize information, facts, studies, or theories,
you must cite your information. Citations aren’t located at the end of your paper but appear
within the sentences of the document, or as footnotes.
If you don’t give credit (cite the source) when using someone else’s information or ideas,
you’re plagiarizing that person’s work. Plagiarism is unethical behavior and is subject to a
grade of zero and/or disciplinary action.
The academic world recognizes several different citation and reference styles. Penn Foster
has chosen to use the style of the American Psychological Association (APA) for this
research project. The Penn Foster Student Library includes extensive information on
research papers in general and citation and references in particular, including the APA style
guide. You can access the library from your Student Portal.
The directions for each research project include six sections:
1. Background
2. Procedure
3. Goal
4. Writing guidelines
5. Grading criteria
6. Submission
These directions tell you what you’re to do to successfully complete your project as well as
how you’ll be graded. Your project will be graded for content, written communication, and
format. The value of each element, which varies from project to project, will appear in the
project assignment.
You must complete the project as directed. Failure to do so will be reflected in your grade.
Consider this situation.
Suppose you went to a restaurant and ordered a vegetarian meal, but the waiter brought you
a steak instead. Would you accept that as your order? You would likely ask the waiter to take
it back since it wasn’t what you ordered. Now, it might be a very nice steak: well prepared
and of high quality. However, it wasn’t what you ordered, and as such, it’s unacceptable. A
research project is similar. The paper can be very well written, but if it doesn’t contain what
was assigned, it’s unacceptable.
You may now continue with your assignment or consult the Penn Foster Library’s Guidebooks and Tips section to read the information provided there on writing a research
paper, the basics of citation, and APA style.
Good luck with your project!
Biology Research Paper and APA Formatting: Tips for Success! Webinar
This is a recorded session. This webinar will introduce you to the essential components of the research paper and highlight tips for successfully completing the paper. This webinar is highly recommended, as it discusses the paper topics, structure, formatting, and citation practices.
Biology Research Paper and APA Formatting: Tips for Success! Webinar (attendee.gotowebi
nar.com/register/2487609192897688336) Biology Proctored Examination Webinar
This live webinar will provide insight into the format and structure of the Biology proctored examination. Students are provided with helpful tips and resources to prepare for the examination. The overall aim is for students to gain familiarity with the assessment format and expectations promoting academic success. Please note that this webinar is optional (not required), but it’s highly encouraged.
Click to open: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/4698297164285301006 (attendee.gotowe

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