The answer to this question explains how to ask your homework question here on Biology and have it well received by the community.



1 Answer 1


Homework Questions on Bio.SE

Biology.SE can be a great place to get help and advice with university and school assignments, however we ask that you take the time to read through these tips before posting your question.

What is a homework question?

  • A request for help with an assignment
  • Asking for help after exam feedback - i.e. "Why was this marked incorrect?"
  • A question that addresses a basic biology concept that may seem trivial to biology professionals

Any question that meets these requirements should be tagged with in addition to other appropriate tags.

What should I do before I ask the question?

  • Research it yourself - even if you try and can't find the answer or understand the concept you need you can then include what you have found out yourself in the question.
  • Search the site to see if something similar has been asked before.

How should I ask my question?

  • Give full details of the problem.
  • Include details of how you have attempted to form a solution. We will not do your homework assignments for you but we will point you in the right direction if you have made the effort to research the topic first.
  • Use logical and clear formatting as this will increase your chances of getting an answer. For example, include tasks from your assignment in blockquotes.
  • $\begingroup$ Everyone please feel free to rip this to shreds - it's really just a starting point so we can pull bits out, entirely reverse bits of it or add things in. We should discuss what we want to include or change on Chat :) $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Commented May 13, 2012 at 18:57
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    $\begingroup$ I'd kill the homework tag entirely, but that probably deserves a discussion of it's own. I don't like the formatting the own attempt as code, it's a misuse of that tag. I'm also thinking of setting the requirements for the own effort quite a bit higher than they are now, to avoid becoming a homework-solving service. $\endgroup$ Commented May 13, 2012 at 19:08
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    $\begingroup$ I also don't like the misuse of the code tag, but I do think that a "homework" tag is needed. $\endgroup$ Commented May 13, 2012 at 19:19
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    $\begingroup$ I understand Mad Scientist point. A homework tag is advertising homework questions, but seeing physics.se got 500 homework questions Im not sure you can really avoid them, then I would rather see them tagged correctly than strongly diversified with other tags and questions about research. If too much low-level homework questions come in, you can still raise the off-topic limit. Trial and error imho. I would agree that site is not for explaining how to solve exercises step by step, the questioner should show his solution method and reasoning and at least a unreasonable result :) $\endgroup$ Commented May 14, 2012 at 18:47
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    $\begingroup$ Im not inclined to solve complete exercises for other user here and probably not many other professionals, mostly some nice students who do similar exercises currently during their studies. And a homework tag would help those students to find such questions easily, otherwise getting few attention and then the questioner ask several bad and localized questions due to their misunderstanding\non-solution of the original homework question being off-topic but still not resolved $\endgroup$ Commented May 14, 2012 at 18:52
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    $\begingroup$ We should probably make it clear that questions saying 'do this question for me' rather than 'help me with my attempt' will be closed straight off $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Commented May 15, 2012 at 7:57
  • $\begingroup$ I'm more inclined to help you if you've displayed alongside your question information showing that you have some understanding of the topic, and just need a nudge in the right direction. This is not a site for other people to do your hw for you though. $\endgroup$
    – thomasrive
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ I absolutely agree with @madscientist that effort level needs to be higher. If it seems pretty clear that the person hasn't so much as wiki'ed the terms they're asking about, I just get frustrated/annoyed. $\endgroup$
    – Atl LED
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 5:15
  • $\begingroup$ Asking users to show their attempt sounds like a good idea, but in practice I see many questions where a multiple choice question is copy/pasted verbatim, and then the person says "I answered (option whatever)". Does that really count as showing your attempts? See biology.stackexchange.com/questions/17759/… $\endgroup$
    – Superbest
    Commented May 31, 2014 at 22:04

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