Betriebspraktikum

An offer for a Betriebspraktikum in Norway is here.

Those who are interested in me supervising their Betriebspraktikum:

Please check our research and teaching page whether your topic (NOT your study animal) falls into one of our research interests or areas of teaching.  NO, it doesn’t? Please send me an email with your topic and I will decide. YES, it does? Please send me two page outline stating the scientific context of your proposed Betriebspraktikum (NOT primarily the animal you want to work with!) – in either English or German. On these pages, please tell me why it is scientifically interesting to do this work (I am not interested in your personal motivation). The text can be in German or English. Here is how you can do that:

1) Start with a strong first sentence stating the very general context of your work (NOT about your study organism). I repeat: DO NOT START YOUR OUTLINE WITH YOUR STUDY ORGANISM (you will see how your thoughts change if you start with your topic!). Examples of wow! first sentences where one wants to read on:

  • The genetic diversity of a population predicts its extinction risk and its evolutionary potential – this will explain why you want to help taking blod samples for a population genetics study.
  • Biodiversity is decreasing almost globally but the measures taken to stop this decline may differ locally – this will explain why you would like to do survey work in a rain forest.
  • Host-parasite dynamics causes very rapid evolution but the dynamics depends on specific genotypes and host density – this will explain why you would like to work in a clinic devoted to vaccination.

2) Then give a bit more detail and include three to five primary references in the outline (Primary references are peer-reviewed journal articles or books. Wikipedia or textbook chapters, websites or newspaper articles are not primary references). DON’T SUBMIT YOUR OUTLINE WITHOUT PRIMARY REFERENCES. And still DON’T MENTION YOUR STUDY ORGANISM.

3) Then carry on… tell me now why the biology of your study organism is suitable to address the scientific questions that you introduced earlier. “Populations of the long-nosed bird-eating frog occur in a highly patchy pattern in the Peruvian Andes. Studying the frogs’ genetic diversity and following their population decline will help me to find out how genetic diversity is related to extinction risk.” (Noticed? You made the connection with the first strong sentence!).

4) “Because the population genetic structure FST is the main measure of genetic diversity, I will go to Peru and help collecting long-nosed bird-eating frogs that will be used to measure population genetic structure.”

5) Here are more hints of how to write a report, or in fact, any scientific paper.

Send the paper to me and I will then get some comments back to you so you can improve your writing. Betriebspraktikum in our lab will be completed by the normal oral presentation plus a max. 4-page report (in German or English). This report should include your initial report as an introduction.

This is too much work for a Betriebspraktikum and you would prefer to just go working without reading and thinking about its context? Please try and find another supervisor. Perhaps, biology is also not the right subject for you.

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