Survey of the Microbial Population on Student Rucksacks

The following sample Biology research proposal is 624 words long, in APA format, and written at the undergraduate level. It has been downloaded 614 times and is available for you to use, free of charge.


Students are exposed to microbes on a daily basis in a number of different environments. These microbiota range from inconsequential to hazardous and there are few ways to predict which will be found where, barring obvious indicators like rot. Despite efforts to keep school environments clean, students will inevitably be exposed to microbes and they themselves are largely responsible for carrying those microbes into contact with other students. This study will seek to determine what role rucksacks play in the perpetuation of microbe populations. Specifically, it will examine the contribution of the most common rucksack contents to microbe populations.

Research Question

What are the sources and commonality of microbial populations in student rucksacks?


The methods for identifying the sources and commonality of microbial populations will focus on a review of existing literature. Studies regarding individual rucksack contents and their contribution to microbial populations will be gathered and analyzed to determine which are most responsible for microbial populations in rucksacks or if any one content is more responsible than others. The contents of rucksacks will be defined by general knowledge.

For the purposes of this study, the common contents will be limited to food, clothing, shoes in particular, and textbooks. One or more studies regarding the nature of a rucksack interior as a microbial environment will also be consulted. Analysis of these sources will seek to identify which rucksack contents are most likely to contribute to microbial populations within the environment created by a rucksack interior.

Literature Review

Secondary evidence suggests that attire such as a physician’s tie or a rucksack can contain extensive unknown microorganism populations. According to Hueston & Carek (2011), studies suggest that standard physician attire is highly contaminated with pathogens. Through the natural course of a work day, contamination can happen as the physician interacts and touches other patients, materials and even staff members. Also, Blarcom (2012) suggested that the issue of a physician’s attire has been under duress because of the risk of microbial populations and other contaminants. Research done by Twomey (2009) showed that even when doctors home-launder their hospital attire, microbial populations can still live and remain a problem. Such background evidence shows that this problem is related to not only ties, but also rucksacks and other forms of medical attire worn around patients. Twomey’s (2009) study was conducted on the basis of testing medical clothing (for surgery) and the longevity of it in relation to contamination. The concern for microbial populations on attire are real and surely backed by scholarly evidence from different studies.

Limitations and Delimiting Options

This study’s primary limitations are due to its dependence on existing studies. Previously conducted studies were not written to this purpose and their results are limited in application to this topic. The best delimiting option would be to conduct primary research on the contents of available subjects’ rucksacks to gather corroborating evidence.


It is the responsibility of researchers to improve the health awareness of the public. Identifying the health risks of everyday objects is an important contribution to creating a healthier population. By targeting rucksacks and which of the common contents of rucksacks contribute most to microbial growth, students can be informed about the risk they carry around on their back every day. These conclusions could also lead to future research that would further improve the health awareness of students. 


Blarcom, J. (2012). Physician Attire: A Scholarly Look. Hospital Pediatrics, 2(4), 249-52.

Hueston, W., & Carek, S. (2011). Patients' Preference For Physician Attire. Department of Family Medicine, 43(9), 643-7.

Twomey, C., & Beitz, H. (2009). Bacterial Contamination of Surgical Scrubs and Laundering Mechanisms. Infection Control Today, October, 1-9.