Start-to-Finish Ecology Research Paper Writing Guide

Writing guide
Posted on January 9, 2019

An ecology research paper is academic writing based on an original scientific investigation on a particular ecological topic, analysis of gathered information, and interpretation of the research findings. Ecology research papers may focus on different aspects, such as biogeochemistry and ecosystem science, evolutionary patterns and processes, community ecology, organismal biology, population biology, and chemical ecology, and commonly researched areas, such as sustainability, conservation, and environment. Questions you should ask yourself before beginning the research paper investigation and writing process include:

  • How do I begin the ecology research paper and what ecology topic do I choose?
  • Where do I find information and what gaps exist in various ecology topics of interest?
  • How do I formulate the research paper’s title and thesis statements?
  • What form of scientific investigation do I need to use in my research paper and why?

This ecology research paper writing guide provides a step-by-step analysis of tips that help you respond to the above questions. Regardless of the requirements that should be followed when writing an ecology research paper, the first important element entails deciding what to research and write about. Therefore, identifying an ecology research paper topic is an important first step in the writing process.

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Picking a Suitable Topic for Your Ecology Research Paper Writing

Topics that disinterest you and those that may not be too challenging contribute to loss of enthusiasm and diminish the efforts you may put towards researching and putting the research paper together. Therefore, choose topics that interest and challenge you to improve your attitude towards the topic and the research process. The following steps are essential when selecting research topics in ecology.

  • Brainstorm for ideas. Generate topic ideas by exploring the strong opinions you have on current environmental issues such as sustainability, conservation, and environment. Try to remember recent topics or information acquired recently that piqued your interest in topics such as community ecology, ecosystem science, or population biology, among other ecology research areas. Other ways of brainstorming for ideas entail exploring issues that you are interested in knowing about, gaps in the literature that you can fill, and class aspects that need in-depth research and analysis.
  • Research general background information. Scan through ecology journals, articles, and books for an overview of the research topic. Reading general information on various topics allows you to see how ideas relate and the scope of topics. Key research words can be sourced from the read articles and books.
  • Focus on the topic. Once you have selected a probable topic, ensure it is manageable and that it is not too broad or too narrow. If it is too broad like “the environment,” limit the topic by defining a geographical area, population, time frame, culture, or a specific discipline in ecology. For instance, you can limit the topic “environment” by geography by focusing on the environmental impacts of industrial production in Quanzhou, China.
  • Define the topic as a research question. Formulate questions about the topic to develop clear ideas on how to amend the topic by limiting or broadening the scope. For instance, if the topic idea is sustainability, the research question could be, “How has sustainability practices enhanced ecological agriculture?” A focused research question would be, “How has sustainability practices enhanced ecological agriculture in Japan?” Thus, a suitable research topic would be “The role of sustainable practices in enhancing ecological agriculture: a case analysis of Japan’s agricultural system.”

Viable ecology research paper topics are as follows:

  • Assessing the Impacts of Human Activities on Communities and the Ecosystem Function Across Spatial Scales;
  • Predicted and Actual Effects and Ramifications of Land-Use and Climate Change on Biodiversity in Agricultural Settings;
  • A Systematic Review of the Role of Species’ Physiological Limits in Improving the Precision of Ecological Niche Models;
  • Analysis of The Neuroethology of Learning and Memory in Honeybees and Bumble Bees;
  • Assess the Factors that Affect Bee Health.

Developing an Appropriate Thesis Statement for Your Ecology Research Paper

Your research paper should have a strong thesis statement that articulates the unifying theme of your paper. Depending on your chosen topic, the thesis statement could present an argument, provoke different thoughts, or describe ideas. The thesis should define what the research is about and guide the intended audience through your ideas to help make sense of your paper. The statement will minimize possibilities of you engaging in disconnected thoughts likely to lose the readers’ interest. When creating a thesis statement:

  • Write in point form the topic and main ideas that should be discussed.
  • Free write the essential thoughts you have about your paper.
  • Make connections between the major points of your paper and highlight causes, applications, and implications of your arguments. In this case, ask yourself why you are writing the research paper.

Combine the above ideas into a sentence or two to come up with a thesis statement. The thesis statement should present a point of view that readers and other writers can agree or disagree with. Moreover, it should provide reasons for choosing specific viewpoints.

Additional Tips for Creating a Good Thesis Statement.

Begin the process with a question. As noted above, the answers you come up with from the question can become your thesis statement. For instance:

Question: What are the benefits of climate controlled storage?
Answer: A major benefit of climate controlled storage is that it maintains a consistent temperature and protects artifacts from extreme temperatures.

Thus, the thesis statement can be, ‘Climate controlled storage units are important because they maintain a consistent temperature and protect artifacts from extreme temperatures.’
In addition, correlate your thesis statement to the type of research paper you are writing; that is, is your research argumentative, persuasive, or informative?

The Structure of an Ecology Research Paper

A scholarly research paper has six main sections, but the number of segments may vary depending on the topic, the purpose of the research paper, and its length. The sections include the title, the abstract, the introduction, the body, the conclusion, and the reference section. In most cases, the body section contains other sub-divisions such as methods, results, and discussion.

  • Title of the Research Paper
    Different writing conventions have diverse requirements concerning how the title page of your research paper should appear. The common elements that cut across all conventions are the name of the author, the title of the research paper, and the assignment or the publication date.
  • Abstract
    The abstract is a brief section of your research paper that describes your study, states its significant and major findings, and summarizes the major points. Although the section comes before the actual paper, it is appropriate to write it last.
  • Introduction
    The introduction should occupy about 10% of your entire research paper. However, the length may vary depending on the topic and the availability of segments such as problem statement, the significance of the research, and objectives. Whether the noted segments are stand-alone elements of the introduction or not, you should include information about:

    • The objective of the research;
    • Background information on the study topic;
    • The significance of the research topic and the paper to the intended audience;
    • Thesis statement, purpose statement, and an outline of the paper.

    The introduction of a scientific research paper should also include a brief review of the relevant literature and state the hypotheses to be tested.

  • Body
    This part of the research paper focuses on the study completely. The body should:

    • Present relevant and current research that pertains to your ecology research topic.
    • Provide evidence that supports your arguments objectively.
    • Avoid drawing any conclusions regarding the research.

    The body section can be written in prose with each paragraph presenting new ideas or theme and supporting evidence. In such a case, the outline for the body is as follows:

    Paragraph 1: Main idea 1
    Supporting evidence 1
    Supporting evidence 2

    Paragraph 2: Main idea 2
    Supporting evidence 1
    Supporting evidence 2

    The noted outline can be used for all the major themes and ideas.

    Other elements that should be incorporated in the body paragraphs include:

    • A topic sentence: the topic sentence in each paragraph should organize and encapsulate the entire ideas and content of the paragraph. The sentence should appear at the beginning of the paragraph. The questions you should ask yourself when writing the topic sentence include:
    • What will the paragraph discuss?
    • Why did I choose to include the information I have?
    • Why is this paragraph essential to the context of my thesis statement and arguments?
    • What point am I trying to make?

    If your topic sentence requires further elaboration, add one or two sentences that explain it.

    • An introduction to your evidence. Research papers require students to incorporate evidence to support claims highlighted in the paragraphs and the research paper as a whole. The evidence may be in the form of quotes, figures, examples, and statistics. The evidence must be well integrated into the topic sentence, as well as your claim and opinions. In this case, you should ensure that the reader can transition from your opinions to evidence that supports your viewpoints.
    • A concluding sentence. The concluding sentence acts as an element that reasserts how your paragraph contributes to the development of your claim and the research paper. It should also help in transitioning from the paragraph to the next.
    • As noted earlier, some research papers are more elaborate and are based on the scientific method of inquiry. If your research paper is based on a purely scientific method of inquiry, your body section needs more than just paragraphs with topic sentences and supporting evidence. These types of research papers have other subsections, such as research methodology, results/findings, analysis, and discussion of findings.

    Research Methodology
    The research methodology section should elaborate the research design used to gather data for analysis. You should describe the methods and materials employed in detail to allow the reader to understand the basis of the stand and replicate the entire study where necessary. If the ecology research is based on human participants, describe your sampling process and data collection methods and procedures.
    This section of the research should highlight the main features of the gathered data. You should not provide a complete description of the details besides presenting data in tables and figures. However, some data cannot be presented in graphical forms, which implies that you can present the results in parenthesis.
    Interpret and evaluate the results presented in the earlier section critically. You need to compare your findings to your expectations and evaluate whether they agree with formulated hypotheses where applicable. Moreover, compare your findings with the results from similar studies in your chosen ecology topic. Respond to the research questions and draw conclusions.

  • Conclusion
    The conclusion of your research paper should address your thesis statement by synthesizing the research presented in the paper. Summarize the main points of your research paper and findings of the study, as well as their implications and significance.

    A good conclusion should:

    • Restate and not simply repeat your thesis statement;
    • Offer summarized and synthesized findings of your research;
    • State implications and recommendations for further study based on your study findings;
    • Make sure not to introduce new content into the conclusion.
  • Reference Section. The reference section highlights the literature cited. The references should be well articulated and in line with the appropriate formats as dictated by various writing conventions.

Post Writing Tips from Our Writers to Polish Up Your Ecology Research Paper

Proofreading your research paper is the major post writing activity you should engage in. You should review:

  • Paragraph level issues, such as the sequencing of ideas, the presentation of topic sentences, the generalizations, the summaries, the use of transitions, and the presentation of evidence for your claims;
  • Sentence level issues, such as the word choice, the sentence structure, the spelling, and the punctuation;
  • Consistent use of a single system of documentation, appropriate citation of borrowed primary and secondary sources, and the accuracy of the works cited list.

The proofreading should be done hours or days later to promote objectivity.

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