MBioS 430

MBioS 430 Writing Projects

  1. Writing Projects for MBioS 430, an [M] writing in the major class
    1. Provide at least two writing assignments using expectations consistent with the discipline.
      1. Laboratory notebook = Blackboard Portfolio submissions and noteblogs
      2. Writing Project
    2. Students are given formative feedback during the revision process in an effort to improve the quality of the writing assignments.
    3. Writing is at least 30% of total grade: (writing is 228 points of 608 total course points)
      1. Noteblog Guidelines are discussed elsewhere


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  1. Writing Project: Students are developing proposals that could be real project, but we are only developing proposals, we will NOT be executing these plans.
    1. Expectations
      1. Use of common rubric to assess completed drafts, citing areas for improvement during the revision process. (below)
      2. Proposal projects will represent current work, citing primary publications from the last year as source material. Older citations can be included, but projects must have recent citations as well.
  • Projects offer some flexibility in subject matter but common expectation in using correct writing mechanics in all content.
  1. With regard to academic integrity,all submitted work will be screened by SafeAssign. Projects must be original work, citing all sources appropriately. Misrepresentation of another’s work as your own is plagiarism and a violation of the student conduct code.  Issues of plagiarism will be forwarded to the WSU Center for Community Standards. You cannot use a document from another course or a previous version of this course.
  2. The service-learning goal is focused on a general audience and appropriate communication strategies must be employed to reach a general audience whereas the scientific poster option strives to use communication strategies employed among students.
  3. Service-learning topics may be more general, but the focus must be specific for assessment.
  1. Important Deadlines: See syllabus
    1. 9/01: (TU 900 PDT) First Draft: preliminary goals, a few searches and general assessmentstrategies (does it meet the criteria for these projects?)
    2. 9/01: (TU lab sections) Elevator pitch, telling classmates about your ideas and gaining valuable peer feedback
  • 9/15: TU Second draft: More developed abstract, developed specific goals&fleshed-out assessment plans
  1. ~10/15: (approx. 2 weeks after receiving feedback) Final written project submission: Project can be discussed at any time with Dr. Mixter or other collaborators, but development of original material is the responsibility of the student.
  • Writing Project Proposal
    1. Organization: Your project proposalshould include the following sectionsin order, delineated with headings and possible sub-headings as named below. Other headings or subheadings are possible.
      1. Summary or Abstract (one paragraph with the brief overview)
      2. Goals [Clearly state the goal(s) of the project in this section with an emphasis on those goals that can be measured in assessment]
        1. Students sometimes confuse “actions” with goals. For example, if you state that your goal is to increase HPV awareness, your true goal may be better stated as “increase HPV awareness through education.”
        2. In defining goals with measurement in mind, be clear about stating these precisely. For example, if you want to increase vaccination rates, you must state specifically what that means. If you want to increase vaccination rates by 10% in Whitman County, that’s a goal you can assess, measuring rates before and after your project, determining whether your project increased rates by 10%.
        3. If this section about goals is unclear, please ask. It’s a critical part of the written proposal that everything else revolves around.
  • Background and introduction (what do you need to know to understand the focus of the project, the plan of action rationale and the assessment strategies; these sections are only required for the final draft, but start collecting references early)
  1. Plan of action (the steps needed to complete your proposed project including the need for funding partners if required)
    1. Specific targeted group
    2. Logistics of project action(s)
    3. Phases of project development (will you start with a small pilot and move to a larger project?)
    4. Funding if needed (are there partners who have funded similar projects? Can you identify and justify potential funding sources?)
  2. Assessment Plans: How will you measure that you’ve completed your project successfully? In other words, what collected data will demonstrate that your project has had impact and met your stated goals?
  3. Summary: A brief summary (a paragraph or two) to emphasize key points.
  • References/Citations:These should use a standard MLA8format. If websites are used, URLs must be included to allow the reader to view these.
  • Appendices: If you propose making a video, resource or brochure, you should include a “mock-up” or other examples here.
  1. General rules for projects
    1. With regard to immunology and/or virology, develop a proposal for public impact. These proposals may be educational, risk abatement, behavior modification or other types of projects.  The goals of your proposed project should be clearly stated in a section with the heading “Project Goals.”  These can be large goals that are subdivided.  They should be tied to the assessment of success in meeting these goals (below)
    2. Research your specific topic and proposemedia and/or activities to convey accurate, current information and lead to behavioral changes.
      1. This sort of material should comprise a section labeled “Background” and provide the necessary information to justify your approach to meeting your stated goals.
      2. This research should be at our 400-class level.
      3. Research might include other areas relevant to your project. For example (but not limited to), if you propose to keep teenagers from using methamphetamine, you should cite studies that indicate the best approaches to these behavioral changes. This data might be psychology or sociology, but these data relate to your ability to meet your goals.
  • Indicate impacts of proposal on the lives of all of the target population. This should be expanded in a section marked “Impacts.”
  1. Communicate sophisticated concepts appropriately for a classmate in MBioS 430. You may need to explain concepts that most students are not familiar with. In contrast, the materials you generate for the public should be readable by 12 year-olds without science training.
  2. Include a plan to assess the effectiveness of your project components’ ability to meet your stated goal(s). What data will indicate that executing your plan will succeed in reaching your goal? If you propose decreasing disease, what data shows that there was a real decrease?
  1. Requirements:
    1. Project must impact no less than 100 persons, but can impact any number greater than that.
    2. Media must be accessible publicly; activities must be feasible depending on the target audience and financial partners (project may require outside funding)
  • Project must demonstrate development from basic scientific content to effective strategy to inform general public. References must include current findings.
  1. Project must be novel and original, not simply an application of an older approach to a new system.
  2. Due in part to this option’s flexibility, there is no minimum length or quantity, but project must adequately convey material to target group (see rubric)
  3. Your technical writing is part of this project. You should employ the best technical writing practices at all times, including correct grammar and spelling. Construct paragraphs using introductory sentences and summary sentences.  Organize your thoughts logically for a reader who is not an expert in this topic. Cite reference material effectively so the reader can find the citation. The suggested format is MLA7 (including URL).
  1. Assessment of Proposal: Rubric is below, but in general:
    1. Project should educate effectively and include a strategy to assess this
    2. Impact of project should be measureable outcomes that demonstrate impact using suitable metrics associated with project (e.g. media focused on smoking cessation should include measurements of reductions in smoking rates among the target audience)
  • While the quality of the “art” is not our focus, it will be assessed generally with focus on how well it accurately meets the goals of the project. If you plan to subcontract any portion of your project (such as graphic design), explain this fully.
  1. Grading Rubric (below)



  1. Writing Project Proposal: Concerns For the Second Draft
    Once your goals have been identified and you’re received some feedback on your skeletal first draft, you’ll want to consider adding details to your second draft and final submission to assure that you’ve covered all areas needed. Here are some common issues that lead to second draft issues:

    1. Can you use a figure from a reference to aid the reader, citing your source? Is a picture worth 1000 words? Can you organize a large section (such as Background) into smaller sub-sections with several paragraphs and many cited sources?
    2. Now that your proposal is expanding, can you used numbered references, footnoting the areas of the text where your citations were used?
    3. Do your goals, plan of action and assessments align? Can you use each of these for the other?
      1. For example, if your goal is to create something, do you have a timeline? Can you judge progress towards the goal based on time?
    4. What are the best practices for what you propose? Do you justify using this approach?
      1. For example, if you choose to educate a group on a health-related topic, what published evidence can you find to support that your assumption that education will work to change behaviors and increase health? Does this work for smoking cessation or obesity?
      2. If you educate, can you assess whether the education worked? How will you be sure the participants gained knowledge? Then, how will you assess whether that knowledge translates into changed behavior?
  • What educational practices are most effective and why?
  1. If you develop a survey, several issues arise, including:
    1. What are the rules about using surveys with human subjects? (http://irb.wsu.edu/resources.asp)
    2. How do you know your survey is both valid and reliable (see https://opentextbc.ca/researchmethods/chapter/reliability-and-validity-of-measurement)
  1. How will you keep confidential survey responses (and perhaps medical information) secure? (HIPPA, FERPA, etc.)
  1. If you propose a clinical test, several steps and details are appropriate:
    1. Experimental design details including treatment and control groups using key factors.
    2. Preliminary testing in animal models (iacuc.wsu.edu)
  1. Statistical analyses of results including sample sizes and considerations



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