Anatomy of a well written paper

Anatomy of a well written paper - BIO 100W Scientific...

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BIO 100W, Scientific Communication Workshop Dr. B. Dawson San José State University Spring 2011 Anatomy of a well-written biology paper Introduction When you select a topic, the next step is to look for articles. Some of those articles will be research papers – papers that present original research. Researcher papers typically begin with an introduction, describe the methods used to carry out the experiment, present the results, and then discuss those results. Some of the articles you find will be review papers. Reviews cover the recent research on a topic, often with an original interpretation or a suggestion for new directions of research. Review papers are a good way to quickly get a broad perspective on a topic. In this exercise, we’ll look at what to do when you’ve found an article: how to quickly tell if a paper is a good fit for your topic, how to study its content. We will also think about what elements are present in a well-written paper, so you can use the articles you find as role models for the papers you write for this class. For this topic, you will need these two papers: o Brischoux F, Bonnet X, Legagneux P. 2009. Are sea snakes pertinent bio-indicators for coral reefs? a comparison between species and sites. Marine Biology 156:1985-1992. o Bellwood D, Hughes T, Folke C, Nystrom M. 2004. Confronting the coral reef crisis. Nature 429:828-834. Research papers The sea snakes paper is a research paper. It presents the original scientific research conducted by these authors. Research papers typically begin with an introduction followed by a methods section. The results section shows the findings and a discussion or conclusions section interprets these findings. The sea snakes paper begins with the title and authors. On the first page, you can also find the reference information for this paper – where it was published and when. Most research papers have an abstract. The abstract should briefly state the background, hypothesis, results and conclusions. In other words, you can often read the abstract to quickly decide if this paper is appropriate for your use. Research papers are written for scientists and students who are interested in that topic. These papers often use terminology that is familiar to people in the field but may not be familiar to you. In this paper’s abstract, the authors use taxonomical terms to indicate the biological scope of their work. They also define “SSS” and mention some of the ecological estimates used. These
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terms are explained in the methods section, but the authors do not give a detailed explanation because they assume the audience consists of people who have some knowledge of ecology and biodiversity. Introduction
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Anatomy of a well written paper - BIO 100W Scientific...

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