NewsPaper Review

Students will review a new paper (current year) from the vertebrate literature. The topic is your choice, so long as it concerns vertebrate biology. Your review should be a 2-page typed, double-spaced (with 12-point font and 2.5-cm margins) synopsis of the entire article written in layperson terms (so the information is accessible to a general audience—as if you were a science reporter for a newspaper). Writing—Avoid using scientific jargon in your review. In other words, write in laymen terms, like a science reporter. Any words that your grandmother would not be familiar with (assuming she’s not a scientist) should be either defined at first use, or explained in other terms. You must review the entire paper: (1) summarize what led the investigator(s) to undertake the study including the ideas/hypotheses/goals; (2) describe the general approach (intricate details not necessary) used to answer the research question(s) (i.e., methods and data analyses); (3) describe the findings in light of the original goals, questions, or hypotheses; (4) discuss the implications of the findings to the broader field of study. Communication is critical to science, so your paper will be graded for organization, flow, sentence structure, grammar, and spelling as well as content. Paraphrasing and Plagiarism—Science writing is different from other types of writing (term papers for writing or communication classes, etc.). For example, scientists don’t use quotes (OK, very rarely). They read someone else’s work and summarize it in their own words then cite the author’s original work. For example, in 2011 Smith published a paper in which she wrote, “My data show that the trunks of wild African elephants are three times stronger than those of individuals that have spent 10 or more years in captivity.” Jones might summarize this as, “The trunks of captive African elephants have severely diminished strength relative to wild individuals (Smith, 2011).” [Note the quotes are used here to avoid confusion about what was written by each author. You would not include quotes in your review.] The citation at the end of this sentence shows that Jones is giving attribution to Smith’s findings. Plagiarism is writing someone else’s ideas or words as if they were your own (i.e., without attribution). But even if you cite the original author(s) of a body of work, you must summarize their findings or ideas in your own words. If you are suspected of plagiarism, you will receive a zero for the assignment and be reported to the Vice President of Student Affairs for disciplinary action, as required by university policy

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