Topic: The Theory of Dinosaur Extinction
Please be concise. Humorous titles may be fun, but they are not appropriate for scientific writing. Your title should provide a basic description of your topic. A good title might be, “The foraging behavior of the Brown Pelican”.
Title – Place this on a title page including title, your name and date – or – simply include this information on the first page, centered at the top.
Introduction – Provide a general introduction to your topic [1-3 pages].
Body – This is the meat of your paper. Describe the details of your topic; include data tables, graphs and/or illustrations as appropriate [3-5 pages] and double space.
Conclusion/Discussion – Summarize the importance of what you discovered about the topic [0.5-2 pages].
References – Please list all reference sources used, even if not cited. Three is the minimum…the bare minimum. Use at least one primary source. A primary source is an original description of research completed by the author, or authors. Examples of a few journals with primary articles include: Science, Nature, Ecology or the Journal of the American Medical Association. Many of these courses are not available in full-text versions via the SPC Library Online. [ HYPERLINK “http://www.spcollege.edu/central/libonline/” http://www.spcollege.edu/central/libonline/ ]. List your references alphabetically, such as the hypothetical example below:
Smith, John V. 1999, Strangler fig growth rates in elevated carbon dioxide environments. Science 256: 34-37.
Vinson, Heidi L and George, Shannon A. 1997. Mutualistic relationships between strangler figs and the trees they strangle. Ecology 88:344-375.
How to cite material –
Please use a standard format such as MLA and be consistent. While I will be happy for you to use a standard scientific format such as what you will find in the journal, Ecology, most of you will not be writing science in the future, so use a format that you already know if you wish. Direct quotes are seldom used in scientific writing, but it is important to cite your source for information that is paraphrased, i.e., In studying the relationship between cabbage palms and strangler figs, Vinson and George (1997) found that cabbage palms benefit from the presence of figs due to increased nutrient levels associated with fecal material produced by birds attracted to the figs.
Please proof your paper before turning it in. Better still, ask a friend, relative, or classmate to proof your paper. Spell checking and grammar checking software are great, but they don’t catch everything. In some cases, only you can make the appropriate choice. Make sure that you write your paper in an organized fashion. Good organization leads to higher grades.