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How to Write a Capstone Project in Biology: Full Guide

When it comes to writing a capstone project in biology, good writing skills really matter because they promote professional success in various areas, from boosting your college progress to obtaining grants for future research.

Strong writing demonstrates the basic skills that are usually expected of an experienced and knowledgeable biologist: attention to the minor details, organization, critical thinking and analysis, and evidence-based decision-making.

We have observed that professional biologists spend approximately one-third of their time being engaged in different forms of writing. It is important to mention that both the study and practice of writing in biology plays an equally important part in one’s education as the gaining of scientific knowledge.

Writing a capstone project in biology doesn’t need to be boring. This project can be presented in the form of a case study, research paper, survey, and so on. By assigning a capstone project in biology, your professor provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate the level of knowledge you have acquired throughout the course. A capstone project in biology includes proposing and solving a particular research issue in your field of study. The most convincing capstone project in biology comes as a high-quality writing and compelling story that involves the intended message to the target audience.

Since a capstone project in biology usually affects your final program grade, it is critical that you make an effort to engage your readers and justify the time and implication of the project presented. In other words, if you present a poor quality capstone project, then your professor will think your biology knowledge is poor as well.

Choose an Interesting Topic

The thing is that if the topic that you choose for the biology capstone project is interesting to you, you are not going to struggle that hard with a lack of inspiration and motivation when it’s time to write. Make sure to give preference to the field of study that is manageable. Besides, consider an option to select a capstone project in biology that is directly related to your own life experience.

Don’t choose the topics that are too broad or too narrow. In the case of the topic that is too general, you’ll find it hard to cover all of the aspects in one project. As for the narrow one, chances are you may fail to find a sufficient number of sources to use in the process of work. In other words, your task here is to pick something in between that will enable you to produce a suitable thesis statement.

Tired of all the guides and never-ending instructions?

Below you will find winning capstone project topics that come from different biology categories:

  • Is Homosexuality Genetically Based?
  • The Scientific Perspective on Hypnosis: Is It Real?
  • How Hormones Contribute to Depression;
  • Organic Farming: Factors and Benefits;
  • The Obesity in Home Pets;
  • Is It Ethical to Test Beauty Products on Animals;
  • The Real Benefits of Vaccination;
  • Ecological Factors that Influence Animal Behavior;
  • The Impact of Natural Selection Theory;
  • Self-repairing Capabilities of a Human Brain.

Research Your Topic

To write a good capstone project in biology, you have to research the chosen topic by checking various science sources, taking notes, brainstorming potential ideas and saving quotes. In-depth research will help you decide on which areas you have to focus on and research. At this stage, you have to start visualizing how exactly your capstone project will look like. Keep in mind the research limitations as well and figure out how to deal with them.

We’ve collected some of the biology resources that will help capstone project writers to get through the dozens of information. A lot of these great websites provide step-by-step tutorials and guides.

  1. Biology Glossary includes definitions for over a thousand terms that a lot of biology fields involve.
  2. ActionBioScience is an educational, non-commercial site that hosts loads of articles written by biology experts to promote discipline literacy. Topics related to biodiversity, biotech, evolution, genomics and more are available on the source.
  3. Microbe Zoo is an entertaining website for college students engaged in biology courses.
  4. Strange Science shows a great variety of the weirdest ideas and mistakes that biology scientists have ever made. If you’re looking for background information related to the biology topic, this site is a useful resource.

In the case of the capstone project in biology, it is recommended to begin your writing from creating a list of all the college papers that you wrote in biology. Also, make sure to include all the tests and exams that you took. Give a description of each project that you have ever presented.

Write a Thesis Statement

Begin your biology capstone project by producing a concise, strong and clear thesis statement. Consider every single word that you include in your thesis statement because it will serve as a foundation for the whole project. Before you write a capstone project thesis statement, ensure that you have abundant arguments, evidence, and facts needed to support your claims. Actually, this is why it is important to begin your work as early as you can.

Parts of the Paper

As you set your mind on working on your draft, think about planning a strong outline. When you prepare an outline, you have to keep in mind the key segments of a capstone project in biology, and how you have to organize them.

We should mention here that there are two main kinds of a biology capstone project – the initial senior project and the final. While the first paper includes the project proposal, the final capstone project comprises the whole project work.

In order to create the initial part of the project, you have to provide the following segments: the title page, the abstract, the tables of contents, the introduction, the problem description, the literature review, the project description, the conclusions, the references, and the appendices.

Introduction

This part is the basic piece in every academic paper. However, it is an important one. In the case of the biology capstone project, you have to state your research problem (for instance, “in cloning, the genetic effects are in most cases fatal at the very start of life”), your approach, as well as share your ideas on the chosen topic.

Literature Review

In this part of your capstone paper, you are required to briefly describe the prior researches and information that is available on your topic. For that reason, make sure to not only mention the previous researches conducted in biology, but also compare them and analyze each.
For instance, if you work on the topic “Types and Causes of Genetic Mutations”, the previous researches conducted in the area might include the following:

  • Research ‘High-Throughput Oncogene Mutation Profiling in Human Cancer’ conducted by Alissa Baker and Roman Thomas.
  • Research ‘Transcriptomic buffering of cryptic genetic variation contributes to meningococcal virulence’ done by the experts at the University of Würzburg.
  • Research ‘Genetic predisposition to mosaic Y chromosome loss in blood’ by Deborah J. Thompson and Giulio Genovese.
  • Research ‘Change of Human Chromosome Count Distributions with Age: Evidence for a Sex Difference’ conducted by Patricia A. Jacobs, Muriel Brunton, W. M. Court Brown, Richard Doll & Harvey Goldstein.

Methodology

In this section, the author is required to describe the entire research that you’ve performed. The sources where you searched for data, the methods that helped you to collect various data, reliability issues and so on should be included here as well. In other words, you have to explain the entire information about your capstone paper topic and all the methods that were applied for the research.

Results

The Results part contains a description and synthesis of information that you have managed to bring together during your research. Basically, you have to give an answer to every question that you set at the beginning of the paper.

Conclusion

The way you begin and end your capstone project determines the success of your work. In a biology capstone paper, you have to provide a reasonable and logical conclusion that is interestingly wrapped up. Your analysis and its success, recommendations for future research and the scientific limitations that you faced will together make your conclusion hooking and memorable.

Be ready to include more sections into your capstone project in biology. Usually, your professor is the one to decide how many sections you have to include in your paper.

Other sections might be the figures, the references, the table of contents, surveys, case studies, and so on. To produce a winning project, make sure to check your professor’s instructions. Thus, you’ll get an idea of how much time you will need to do your research and to write the paper from A to Z.

Final Tips on the Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to the sciences like biology, it is important that you pay attention to the correctness of Latin names.

  • In ecology, you have to mention the genus and species of the organisms underlined and in italics. Capitalize genus (species is never capitalized). For example: Pomacea catamarcensis.
  • In molecular biology, the formatting rules used to discuss the genes and their products vary from species to species.
  • It is recommended to check the websites that include information about proper formatting of information on some species. For example, www.flybase.org and The National Center for Biotechnology Information, to name a few.

Active/Passive Voice & Tense

As a rule, you will have to use active voice and past tense when writing a capstone project in biology. While active voice specifies that the subject performed a certain action, the past tense means that the action has already taken place. What is more, you have to take into account person: “I” (1st) versus The organisms (3rd) and practically never “you” (2nd) and verb/subject agreement.

  • We theorize (present, 1st person, active, pl.);
  • We checked (past, 1st person, active, past);
  • The issue was put to the test (past, 3rd person, passive, singular).

Present Your Data Appropriately

In capstone projects in biology, data is presented in different forms such as pictures, tables, graphs, schematics, and so on. The way you present your data may be changed later to add some clarity to your work; however, it should never alter the data authenticity or misrepresent the results.

It doesn’t matter which form you choose, make sure to provide proper descriptions and labeling to the data presentation. This will provide the work context.
Any presentation of data in your capstone project should include adequate labeling and sufficient description. Thus, they will be able to stand alone outside your capstone paper.
As for the numerical analysis, you have to give averages together with the measure of variation instead of providing individual raw data.

Writing in Different Biology Sub-Disciplines

What differences usually occur when you’re writing a capstone project in different sub-fields of biology? The level of creativity used in the process of writing varies between different biology sub-disciplines. More often than not, professional biologists usually give preference to the conventional use of technical capstone paper titles.
As for the voice, ecology scientists prefer writing in the active voice, while cell biologists write with an emphasis on passive voice. At the same time, molecular biologists write in the passive voice, but they tend to use the active voice when they need to emphasis some important issues. You can keep in mind these rules by understanding that biologists study objects that are being acted upon, while ecologists deal with organisms that act.