BIOL 3251 Writing Assignment 2 – Introduction and Hypothesis


BIOL 3251 Writing Assignment 2 – Introduction and Hypothesis

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The entirety of the assignment is to help you construct polished and professional text for the introduction and hypothesis.

Initial Draft

This should be about 1 typed page, not including Literature Cited or any figures (diagrams or graphs).

1. Begin by taking out a sheet of paper and brainstorming for 90 seconds. Scribble down everything you can think of about the gene, topic, treatment you’ve chosen – write down everything you can think of!!!

2. Now take a look at your brainstorm. Use circles or highlighter colors to group the words/concepts into broad groups. What broad concept or topic group could you use to get other people (your audience) interested in your topic? Begin with a 2-3 sentences about that broader topic or concept.

This section, and those that follow, also need references for any facts or concepts that are not common knowledge. If you have to look it up, it needs a reference. If a paper can be referenced in a journal, use that. Only use web addresses when there is no other source. Make sure you use “in text” citations AND a Literature Cited section according to the CSE style (name-year). Remember, you can visit the Writing Center for help on style and/or writing!

Example of “In text” citation for an introductory document:

F. psychrophilum is a pathogenic organism responsible for causing severe diseases in Oncorhynchus mykiss, rainbow trout (Rochat et al. 2017). This pathogen causes detrimental effects, including skin and muscle degeneration, to rainbow trout populations (Henriksen et al. 2014).

Literature Cited

Henriksen MMM, Madsen L, Dalsgaard I. 2013. Effect of Hydrogen Peroxide on Immersion Challenge of Rainbow Trout Fry with Flavobacterium psychrophilum. PLoS ONE 8(4):35-42.

Rochat T, Fujiwara-Nagata E, Calvez S, Dalsgaard I, Madsen L, Calteau A, Lunazzi A, Nicolas P, Wiklund T, Bernardet J-F, et al. 2017. Genomic Characterization of Flavobacterium psychrophilum Serotypes and Development of a Multiplex PCR-Based Serotyping Scheme. Frontiers in Microbiology 8(2):236-238.

3. Use the next 4-5 sentences to bring in some relevant, but more scientific facts and details that your reader/audience might want to know. Also consider which facts and/or concept that will be necessary for a reader/audience to know to be able to understand the more detailed information that comes next. You should pick facts supported in the literature you’ve been gathering.

4. Now, use the next 4-5 sentences to begin to draw the reader into the very fine details… you want to lead them into being very focused on your specific question/hypothesis (item 7).

5. Make sure you have included reasonable transitions between ideas and concepts above – that is, you need the text to flow smoothly from one topic to the next, rather than jumping from one idea to another. Help your reader out; they are a newbie to this!!!!

6. Are there images or graphs that you might add to aid in drawing interest or making an idea easier to understand? For a poster, which is our final goal, you can use images and drawings from papers in your introduction, but you must cite them in a figure legend and put the citation in your Literature Cited section. Please note that this is different for a document you want to publish, where you cannot use any art or images from others without their official permission.


Figure 1. C. elegans Life Cycle. Life stages are designated as names outside the double ring. Color coding within the rings corresponds to the timing of the life stage. Times are listed in hours. Larval stages 1 thru 4 are noted as L1, L2, L3, and L4, respectively. (image from Blaxter 2010).

Literature Cited

Mark Blaxter’s Teaching Pages [Internet]. 2010. Version 4.01. Edinburgh: Mark Blaxter; [updated August 2019; cited August 2019]. Available from: .

7. You’ll want to end with your hypothesis statement. This is the prompt you saw for the project on week 1. Notice it is in question form, which is a good place to start.

Does the expression of (gene you select) change when the nematode is exposed to ( experimental treatment,) compared to the control treatment?

How can you phrase this question as a hypothesis statement, being very specific to your selected gene and treatment AND the type of gene expression we are testing and the measurements you are making? Be careful to address only what your experiment is actually testing. See below and the printed page from Science Buddies ( that has examples of hypothesis statement that are of different quality.

Example of too broad and not specific: The alternative splicing in this gene should show exactly where the splicing is occurring and exactly how this gene helps with the development, and what exactly can go wrong.

Revised: RNA from the Fox2P gene will be alternatively spliced to form different isoforms in regions of the human brain associated with vocal development (amygdala, cerebellum) compared to those not associated with vocal development (basal ganglia) as measured by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.

2. Introduction

Score 0-3

The writing should introduce the reader to the broader topic with interesting and relevant facts, as well as guide the reader to the specific hypothesis.

The writing should be clear, organized well, flow well from one idea to another, and be grammatically correct with no spelling errors. Names of species and genes should be italicized.

Images should be used where they are appropriate and be helpful to introducing the topic.

In text references should conform to the CSE style (name-year) and a Literature Cited section should be included.

3. Hypothesis

Score 0-3

The hypothesis is formatted as a statement, not a question.

It includes the gene name, treatment, and expected results with respect to gene expression changes.

The hypothesis is specific to this experiment. It does not indicate tests or measures of things beyond the scope of the experiment or mention too broad outcomes.

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