TERM PAPER GUIDELINES
Assignment: Write a 1500-2000 word popular article on A RESEARCH ARTICLE THAT YOU HAVE FOUND (Link to the article you are going to use is at the bottom) AND THAT IS OF PARTICULAR INTEREST TO YOU (if this is the case, the article must be from 2017-2019 and it should not be a Review article). Your article is meant to be written for a non-scientific audience. Your paper should follow as a model the kinds of articles that appear in the New York Times (Science Times section). Imagine that you are Natalie Angier or Carl Zimmer of the New York Times reporting on a new and potentially exciting discovery that has just been done. You can download examples of NY Times articles from the website.
Procedure Read through the paper a couple of times. When you are satisfied that you have a general understanding of the topic, search for a related (but slightly more general) paper to help you understand the topic better. A good source for these secondary references is either the bibliography at the end of each chapter in your text book or the literature cited section in the primary reference. Usually in the introduction to scientific papers authors will cite a good review paper. Look at the references cited in the first one or two paragraphs of the primary paper for some possibilities. Once you are satisfied that you have a good grasp of the paper, write an article describing why the study was done, how the study was done, the insects included in the study (give the name of the order to which they belong), the general results and conclusions of the paper. Finally, ask yourself why the study was significant. Why did anyone bother to do this study? What important insights into insect biology does it provide? What is the general significance of the study to you or anyone else? If you think there are problems with the paper, point those out. Also, if you believe the paper is not significant, you should explain why. You must cite the “primary reference” in your paper. You should also cite any secondary references, either web sites, text books, scientific papers, or whatever you used to develop a better understanding of the subject. You can cite multiple “secondary references”. Recommended length: 1500-2000 words. Papers that go over 2000 words will be penalized. We recommend using one or more illustrations to explain the study.
We will grade the papers based on six criteria for a total of 100 points. Below is the detailed rubric we will use. Please note that we will use Turnitin to evaluate plagiarism. Your term paper will be compared to papers written by other students in the last 4 years and to popular science articles available on the Web background/context (10 pts) -are the relevant scientific concepts underlying the study explained in a clear manner (for a non-science audience) -is a current BIG question in Science connected to the research described articulated? summary/accuracy (20 pts) -was the main point of the article identified? -are there sections with far fetched or unrelated ideas? -were the authors’ results summarized clearly and accurately critical evaluation (10 pts) -did you check for conflicts of interest? -Did you separate correlation with causation (if applicable)? -can you find potential flaws to the way the experiments were conducted use of images (10 pts) -were metaphors and analogies used? -did you use words/verbs that elicit pictures in readers’ minds? – did you include a useful photo, graph, or illustration? journalistic style (20 pts) -is there an entertaining yet relevant lead? -were active verbs used? -are paragraphs connected by transition words -Did you provide a satisfactory ending paragraph to your article? -Did you check whether your article logically flows from one argument to the next? writing (20 pts) -were truisms, cliches, jargon and structural repetion, used? -were acronyms explained? -are the facts ordered in a top-down manner? creativity (10 pts) -quality of the title? -Humor? -note: this category is somewhat subjective
LINK TO THE RESEARCH ARTICLE:
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