Scientific Writing Assignment (10 pts.)
BSCI106 – Fall 2009
Name: __________________________, Date: ___________________, TA: __________________
"I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this
Your scientific writing assignment will be to critique a scientific “paper.” Actually, although based on a real
scientific paper, this paper is a re-write that illustrates some of the common problems we see in submitted lab
Here is what you need to do.
Your assignment is to critique the attached paper and to review the paper for
plagiarism and appropriate use/citation of literature.
Between now and the next lab review that paper and make editorial remarks reflecting the problems, or virtues, you
You will submit this handout, with editorial comments, at the BEGINNING of lab next week.
Scientific Writing lab you will form groups and discuss and present your collective opinions on one of the paper
sections. While other groups are presenting their section, take notes on this handout to help you when you write your
“But … I’ve never written a scientific paper.
How am I supposed to know what’s wrong with this one?”
First, read it over.
Does is make sense?
Is the content appropriate?
Are the ideas presented in a logical order?
the ideas supported by the data, references, and/or by sound and clear reasoning?
Second, scientific literature typically follows a specific format.
This makes scientific papers both easier to write and
easier to extract information from.
A reader interested in finding information about methods, or conclusions, knows
exactly where to find it.
You have a lot of information on the format of a scientific paper, as indicated below:
Lab Report Style Guide:
At the end of the lab manual is a nice synopsis of what belongs where in a scientific paper.
Lab Report Resource Center:
On the Lab Information link on the course web site we have a site devoted to Lab
It includes a section-by-section description of the main components of each section, examples, and
the do’s and don’ts of writing a lab report.
You should consult this while doing the assignment.
To help you evaluate the appropriateness of the paper contents, here’s some background on the study.
Exposure to testosterone during fetal development appears to influence a variety of characteristics, including the
relative lengths of the 2
finger (the one you point with) and the 4
Higher exposure to testosterone
during fetal development is associated with short 2
fingers relative to 4
fingers (a low 2D:4D ratio, D stands for
Because 2D:4D is so easy to measure and it indicates levels of fetal testosterone exposure, many researchers
have sought correlations between 2D:4D and other characteristics to see what else fetal testosterone exposure might
This study investigates the relationship between 2D:4D and female assessments of male attractiveness.
The authors don’t actually expect females to be attracted to males based on the relative lengths of their fingers, but