Compare and Constrast: Improving 1st Year Science Paper

In this blog post I will go over the typical format of a first year scientific paper. This sort of paper includes only a short introduction, a figure, and a results ‘paragraph’. A ‘paragrapgh’ can be anything from a couple of sentences to a page and a half long and drescibes the methods of your experiment. This usually includes the types of chemicals used, the statistical tests, and conclusions from the experiment.

If that’s vague and unhelpful, then I’m doing my job. Academic papers in the sciences vary so much in color and form, you’ll learn to deal with very abstract concepts even in how to present your results. It gets easier with practice:

Enriched social environment has positive neurogenesis effect on Procambarus clarkii

Procambarus clarkii is a species of crayfish which continuously grows throughout its life. As an invertebrate, it has an exoskeleton that is replaced as it increases in size. As it increases in size, so does its brain. In certain regions of the brain, named cell clusters 9 and 10, new neurons are added throughout the animal’s life. It has been found by several scientists that neurogenesis can be affected by several factors, including richness of the environment. In this experiment we explore this concept.

Results

null

Our hypothesis was that the crayfish in the more enriched social environment will have more neurons than crayfish in isolated monotonous environments. In this experiment, Crayfish A and B were injected with bromodeoxyurirdine (BrdU) and allowed to grow and interact in an enriched environment (A) and an isolated environment (B). There were 5 identical crayfish in these two situations. These crayfish were allowed to grow to adulthood then sacrificed; their brains sliced to be analyzed on a confocal microscope using Lecia software. This software highlights new brain lesions with three different stains: BrdU is green, glutamine synthatase in blue, and PPI in red. Bromodeoxyurdine (BrdU) was a breakthrough nucleoside that can stand in for thymidine (T) during DNA replication. As cells replicate, they use BrdU instead of thymidine to replicate their genomes. It has traditionally been used in the medical community to trace the development of cancer. It is a nucleoside that stays with the patient for life and goes everywhere in the body. There was a clear trend that sections of Crayfish A were more densely populated by neural precursor cells and new neurons than Crayfish B. To test if this difference was significant, the averages of the neural cells were given to the t-test which found it to be more significant than chance would allow.

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3.75/10

I still wouldn’t have passed this paper even if they doubled my score.

Why such a terrible score you ask? The meat of the paper lies in the figure drawing, but it doesn’t say much on its own. In my original paper, it printed incorrectly and took out what little I had in the chart’s legend fell off. But even then, I didn’t use the correct terms for the immature neurons by calling them ‘new neurons’ instead of ‘immature neurons’ or ‘neuronal precursor cells’. Thankfully, my professor allowed for me to redo my paper.

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Enriched social environment has positive neurogenesis effect on Procambarus clarkii

Procambarus clarkii is a species of crayfish which continuously grows throughout its life. As an invertebrate, it has an exoskeleton that is replaced as it increases in size. As it increases in size, so does its brain. In certain regions of the brain, named cell clusters 9 and 10, new neuronal precursors cells are added throughout the animal’s life. It has been found by several scientists that neurogenesis can be affected by several factors, including the enrichment of its environment. In this experiment we explore this concept.

Results

null

Our hypothesis was that the crayfish in the more enriched social environment would have more neurons than crayfish in isolated monotonous environments. In this experiment, Crayfish A and B were subjected to oxygenated water with 2mg/mL bromodeoxyurirdine (BrdU) in pond water for 12 hours and allowed to grow and interact in an enriched environment (A) and an isolated environment (B). There were 8 identical crayfish in these two situations. These crayfish were then sacrificed; their brains sliced and fixed with paraformaldehyde and then treated with antibodies using immunocytochemistry methods to fluorescently tagged BrdU to be analyzed on a confocal microscope using Lecia software. This software highlights new brain lesions with three different stains: BrdU is green, glutamine synthatase in blue, and PPI in red. Bromodeoxyurdine (BrdU) was a breakthrough nucleoside that can stand in for thymidine (T) during DNA replication. As cells replicate, they use BrdU instead of thymidine to replicate their genomes. It has traditionally been used in the medical community to trace the development of cancer. It is a nucleoside that stays with the patient for life and goes everywhere in the body. There was a clear trend that sections of Crayfish A were more densely populated by neural precursor cells and new neurons than Crayfish B.

To test if this difference was significant, the data sets of the precursor neural cells in each brain region were compared to see the chance that the two independent groups of data is solely due to chance. So, for a highly replicatable experiment, p will be extremely small. If Niche A p= 0.249, then 75.1% of all experiments will have similar results.

9/10

Notice how much more specific I am in this paper as compared to the last. I even attempted to explain the statistical tests that were used. But my results paragraph pale in comparison to my new and improved figure: the key is including as much non-repeating, detailed data as possible.

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