I need to vent. I’m grading lab reports, and one of my banes is this: students who assemble a series of tables and plunk them into the results section with no text narrative. Nothing to glue them together. Just Table 1, Table 2, Table 3, I’m done. I tell them in Cell Biology that I hate this, that it’s completely unacceptable, and these students have gone through cell bio. I tell them again in Genetics; I tell them I want them to imagine that all of their tables and figures fell out of the manuscript, but I can get the gist of what the results are from the text. I tell them that a table or figure does not exist if it is not referenced in the text. They’ve done one lab report earlier in the semester, in which this rule was reiterated, and I gave them big fat zeroes on their results section if they committed this sin. Then have to know by now. I’ve emphasized it so many times this term. I tell them in lab. I tell them in lecture. I warn them that this is a huge peeve of mine, and students keep doing it despite my tirades, and this year, finally, I hope the whole class will get it.
First 6 student lab reports: they just have a string of tables for a results section.
Jesus fucking christ. This isn’t hard. Can I just give them all failing grades, quit my job, and apply to be a Walmart greeter? They’re doing worse than they did on the first lab report.
I am not encouraged to continue, but I must. If the next lab report fucks this up, I’m going to explode and my poor wife is going to come home to an office painted in blood and body parts.
I had to think back to the instructions I gave the students with the first lab report.
Introduction. You should explain what a complementation cross is, and you should explain what each of the mutants, scarlet and brown, do. I will not be expecting an extensive literature search; citing your textbook and flybase.org will be adequate.
Methods. Think back: you did a cross of st x st and bw x bw just to make lots of flies. You isolated virgin females to cross st x bw (and maybe did a reciprocal cross) and generate F1 flies. You then crossed the F1 flies to make an F2 generation. Explain all those steps! Imagine that your methods will be used by next year’s students to replicate this experiment.
Results. The core of the results section will be the data that is currently in a spreadsheet on Google. Reformat that into two pretty tables. You don’t have to include the entirety of the raw data; you might want to sum up particular categories. It’s all up to you how you present it. NOTE: Just the tables will not be an adequate results section. You must have a text narrative that explains the tables.
Discussion. Now interpret the results. Tell me what you expected, summarize what you observed, and do some statistics. Did what we saw fit the expectations? Remember that you looked at multiple phenomena. Are the sex ratios what you expected? Was one mutant more viable than the other? Are there anomalies in the data set, like maybe some groups got completely wacky results? Explain what must have happened. Another NOTE: there’s always a tendency to agonize over what went wrong. Try to emphasize the positive conclusions from the experiment.
I pretty much told them exactly what I expected. I also went over this in lecture and lab. I don’t know what went wrong, so I’m just going to blame COVID-19.
Lab reports are all graded now, and I didn’t die, yet. I’ve got to escape, though, so I’m going out for Mexican (I’m vaccinated! I can!): fish tacos and a margarita should help. Then I come back to do the next big assignment.