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This conference is managed by the American Society for Microbiology


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OBJECTIVE: Design an environmental microbiology experiment based on the scientific method and write a research paper in a format that can be submitted for review to a journal (Applied Environmental Microbiology)

ASSIGNMENT: Experiment during the semester where we will conduct environmental sampling around the campus.  Each will write a paper about this project. 

Excellent                 Competent                   Needs Work


  The section is well organized.  The purpose of the work is supported by the literature.   Objective is clearly stated. Background information is provided to support the objective and purpose of the work.  All literature references are properly cited in the text.  Hypothesis is stated or inferred. 

 Section lacks sufficient transitions. All background information does not relate to the objective or purpose.  Most references are cited.  The hypothesis is stated but not well written



 All information is presented in past tense.  The format is in paragraph form with subheadings as needed.  All samples and equipment are clearly described.  The proper statistical test is explained.  The section is well organized

 Information is not in past tense.  The explanation is in a list form more so than a paragraph form.  The section is not well structured.  The statistical test is correct but not explained well.



 All results are summarized.  Results are explained in paragraph form. Tables or figures are included when necessary.  The tables/figures are properly labeled and titled.  No raw data is included in figures or tables

 Raw data is included in the results.  Significant results are not properly noted by statistical evidence.  There is not enough in the text of the section, too much information is in the table/figures.



 The hypothesis is re-stated and either verified or disproved.  All results are discussed.  Unusual results are explained with a valid reasoning.  There is a clear connection between the interpretation of the results and the literature.  Facts and speculation are clearly distinguished

 The hypothesis is verified or disproved but not clarified.  Most results are discussed.  There is an connection between the results and literature, but it is not clearly explained.  Some speculation is consider as fact.

 The hypothesis is not verified or disproved.  Results are not connected to the literature.  Section  is not well organized.  Speculation is considered fact.  The connection to the purpose or objective of the paper is lacking. 


 All information acquired from the literature is properly cited within the text.  A work cited page that includes at least 5 primary source references is labeled and included in the body of the paper.  The format from Applied Environmental Microbiology used throughout the paper. 




 No grammatical errors are present. Transitions between paragraphs and sections are seamless and not choppy.  All information is in its correct section of the paper.  Proper sentence structure is used throughout the paper.  The paper is well organized



After handing out the assignment, I will give the students a journal article that has been submitted to AEM.  As a class, we will analyze it for all the points that we were interested in for the assignment.

Pass out a sheet with the following questions.

1. What is the purpose of the paper?

2. Is there background information about the subject?

3. What are the researchers trying to find?

4. How well did they describe the preparation of the microorganisms?

5. If you had all the tools and skills, would you be able to repeat this experiment or are pieces missing?

6. Is any raw data present?

7. Could figures stand alone? Why/why not?

8. Is the objective/hypothesis re-stated and verified or disproven?

9. Are data connected to literature?

10.  Are there any grammatical errors?

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