Use a legible font, font size of 11pt or more and line spacing 1.5 or wider. Pages should be numbered and the margins should be at least 2.54cm all round.
Here are the sections required in the project report in the order in which they should be included:
MSc Title Page
Formal (and informal) Acknowledgements
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
Materials and Methods
Please consult the assessment grid (in the Content section of the BIOL 40111 webpage on NOW) for the assessment criteria (and note that 10% of the mark relates to the effort put into practical work, assessed by your supervisor).
The electronic copy of your report must be formatted in a common standard format (.doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf or .pdf) and submitted to the BIOL40111 dropbox.
Two hard copies must also be submitted for assessment to the student information desk in the Erasmus Darwin Building (where you will be issued with a receipt). These should be loosely bound (a small charge will be levied to cover the cost of binding) and printed one-sided. One copy of your report may be sent to the external examiner.
Notes on Structure
Write in good scientific English. This means writing clearly so that procedures and results can be understood. This commonly also means using the passive voice in descriptions (e.g., of methods and results).
The title page should include the full title of the project in clear lettering and the names of the student and supervisor(s). Please use the “Cover Template” document as your template. The statements contained in this document are formal requirements.
Please use the “Acknowledgements Template” document to acknowledge help from all people who have helped you in your project. You also need to indicate how they have helped you. You may include an informal, free-text acknowledgements section.
List of Abbreviations
Abbreviations and symbols should follow the HYPERLINK “https://www.biochemj.org/bj/bji2a.htm” l “abbrev” general style of the Biochemical Journal. The full name of each word/phrase for which an abbreviation is to be used should be given in this section. It is usual to spell out an abbreviation or acronym on first use in the main text.
This should be a 200- to 300-word summary of the main aims, approaches, results and conclusions of the work. It is usual to avoid references in the abstract.
This should include a thorough and up-to-date review of the literature and demonstrate a clear understanding of the background to the problem and the scientific concepts involved. The introduction should lead into and finish with an account of the aims of the investigation.
Materials and Methods
It should be possible to replicate your work by reading this section of your report. Specific details should be given for newly developed methods or changes to published methods (include citation for original method). Well-established methods (e.g. PCR) may be described in outline. The source (and grade, where applicable) of special materials used in the work should be given. For example, “GTP (type IIS; Sigma-Aldrich, Poole, UK)”. Software version numbers should be included (or dates of access for web resources; again include citations where applicable).
The results should be written indicating the logical progression of the experiments or analyses performed. This need not be the order in which they were undertaken, but the presentation should be honest and rigorous.
Tables, graphs and figures should be clearly labelled and of adequate size, making use of the whole page. A legend should be placed at the bottom of each figure/table (or on the facing page if appropriate). The legend should give sufficient details for interpretation of the figure.
Linking text that refers to figures and tables in the results section should just describe and not discuss the implications of the data. If science is detective work, this section is a simple description of the murder scene
This section should include a detailed discussion of the results obtained (refer to figures and tables by their number in the results section) and their significance with respect to previous findings of the host research group and other published data.
The discussion section must end with suggestions for future work and an overall conclusion of the project’s findings.
It is recommended that you use Refworks software. Adopt a consistent style of referencing (consult your supervisor) and be accurate. You will be expected to show evidence of extensive and up-to-date reading in your particular field of research. All major statements of fact should be qualified by a citation in the text with a corresponding entry in the reference list.
One or more supplementary sections may be included if you wish to include raw data. These are self-contained sections so if supplementary text is included make sure that citations and references are included as appropriate. Make sure that tables and figures are labelled carefully. You can name these as “table S1” and so on.