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BIO110: Biology

Final Project Help

Conceptual image representing different forms of pollution. Smoke and steam from power stations and factories contribute to atmospheric pollution, which causes acid rain and has been implicated in global warming. Water from power station cooling towers can cause thermal pollution. Water may also be contaminated by chemical spillages.You have been assigned to prepare a 6-page scientific report on how one of the specific human activities (topics) listed in your course has impacted all life on the planet.  The report you create will be presented in a Student Science Research Competition.  You must incorporate all the aspects of how the topic you chose impacts all living things.

You are expected to provide at least 6 academic sources. First, select a topic from the list in your course.

Allen, S. (n.d.). Pollution [Conceptual image]. Science Photo Library.

If you haven't used the Excelsior Library much or want a refresher, watch our short library overview video:

Find background information in the library

First, let's look for overview-type information on your topic. You might want to use these to research your topic proposal/outline. Go to the Background Information guide to see a list of databases you can search:

  1. Start with Credo Reference. Click on this database from the Background Information guide to search it.
  2. Type your topic into the search box and then click the magnifying glass. For example: air pollutionair pollution in the Credo reference search box
  3. After reviewing the Credo results, you can repeat this process using another database. Return to the Background Information guide and click on Britannica Online. Search Britannica Online for information about your topic.
  4. Check out the "Sources to get you started!" box below for a few selected sources on each topic.

Find scholarly eBooks and articles in the library

Next, let's search the OneSearch tool and use some advanced search strategies to find sources on the different aspects listed in the organization section of your assignment.

For example:

  • "How does the topic impact animals, plants, insects, reptiles, etc. This is where you will need to look into the biochemical actions of the topic on the living organisms. You cannot just say “water pollution makes fish sick.” Or “water pollution makes fish smaller.” HOW does this mechanism work precisely?"

On the Advanced Search screen in OneSearch, you will see 3 search boxes that you can use to divide your topic into its main ideas.

In the top box, type the original topic that you are researching. If it's a two word name, like "air pollution," put the name in quotation marks. The quotation marks mean that you are searching those words as a phrase, not as individual words. Changing the drop-down list next to the box from Select a field (optional) to SU Subject terms will limit your search to only articles that include the topic as a subject term. Try it both ways!

In the second box, type the second aspect that you want to find information on, for example: animals

search results for search described above

You can limit your results with the Refine Results column on the left side of the page. Try limiting by date or resource type.

Then, repeat this process, changing out the search word in the second box to answer the remaining questions listed in your assignment. For example, change animals to "human health" while keeping your original topic in the first box the same.

As always, if you need assistance, contact your librarians. We are happy to help!

Find reports from professional organizations

Next, let's look on the open web for reports from professional organizations and universities. These will give you a comprehensive overview of your topic.

You can do a Google search to find publicly available reports. Add to the end of your search to limit your results to reports from government websites. For example, [topic] report

You can then repeat this, using the same search but change to This will get you reports from educational institutions.

Be sure to critically evaluate any sources that you find on the open web. Is the report from a reputable organization without biases? Use the library's evaluating sources tutorials (linked below) if you need help:

You will want to take the work you have done in composing your final research report paper and turn that into a presentation to be delivered to your colleagues. Your work should be no shorter than 2 minutes and no longer than 4 minutes. It must contain all the following elements: 

  1. Title slide with the title of your presentation and your name as author 
  2. Audio integrated into the presentation. You should provide a voice over for each slide 
  3. Photos and graphics that help to illustrate what you are examining 
  4. The presentation should be organized in a logically so the viewer can easily follow along 
  5. You should explain the problem, why it is important, human and the environmental impacts and what is being done about it. 
  6. References in APA style on the final slide 
Find Images & Videos
Cite Sources and Images
Ready to record? In addition to the detailed instructions in your course, check out this guide for help:

Sources to get you started!