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BIOL 1408 Course Guide

Biology for Non-Science Majors I

Science Papers

Scientific Paper

Scientific papers as well as lab reports follow the “IMRaD” format:

Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion.


Explains why you are carrying out the research, provides a literature review of the research that has already been done by others, and presents the hypothesis or research question to be carried out.

Materials and Methods

Provides the methods, techniques, and materials used to carry out the research. The details are thorough enough for others to duplicate the research.


Provide the findings without any interpretations and will include tables and graphs.


Provides interpretations of the findings and attempt to explain the observations.

A conclusion will summarize the findings and limitations of the experiment which should lead to questions for future research to explore.

Additionally, the scientific paper will include an abstract at the beginning of the paper that summarizes the article and the references consulted are listed at the end of the paper.

-Adapted from Biology 2e by OpenStax is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Research Steps

1. Choose Your Topic

The first step in research is to know your topic. Some instructors may assign you a specific topic, but others may let you choose your own topic. Here is a short tutorial to help you choose a research topic.

2. Find Information

Select the guide from the list above that relates the closest to your topic. Use the guide to search:

To look for a specific Journal title, use our Journal Locator.

3. Evaluate Your Sources

It is important to evaluate information to determine if it is reliable and relevant to your research project.  These tutorials can help you choose high-quality sources.

4. Use Information

If you need writing assistance, the Centers for Learning Excellence (CLE) has tutors who can give writing tips and advice and also proofread your papers.  The Purdue Online Writing Lab also has useful advice to assist you in the writing process.

5. Cite Your Sources

Plagiarism occurs when you use words or ideas without giving proper credit to the author. Plagiarism, whether intentional or not, is unethical and it is a violation of the STC Student Code of Conduct. To avoid plagiarism, you should always cite your sources.

For further guidelines on APA citations, visit: