Show and Tell
The comment is often made with frustration in the teacher's room or during conferences that a student's writing is not focused; they are all
over the place. Often, this is simply because the student has not had the opportunity to have anyone explain to them how to take a broad topic and focus it into something manageable and interesting.
Using the metaphor of focusing a camera, model for students how to take a subject, find a topic within that subject, and finally find a subtopic within the topic to research. Using this metaphor, students easily grasp the concept of taking a broad subject and honing it down to a thoughtful, precise and workable subtopic.
Biology research paper topics can be daunting. There are hundreds or possibly thousands of subjects to write about such as genetics, cancer and microbiology. Within these subjects are various topics. For instance, genetic coding, cancerous tumors or antibiotics might be subtopics for these subjects.
Focus in a tiny bit more and the student will discover subtopics leading to a research paper. For instance, biology research paper topics for these three models might be:
- Genetic Coding in Water Rats Found in Boston Harbor
- Desmoids Tumors in Young Women of Child-bearing Age
- Antibiotic Resistance: Microbiological Warfare Hits the Wall.
If we expect our students to master the art of writing research papers in college or university classrooms, teaching them to look at the development of a subject as being similar to focusing a camera lens from macro to micro exposure is an excellent tool. While biology research topics can still be assigned, demonstrating how these topics were created enables the student to see the process they will be expected to follow in the future.