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A Guide to Writing
in the Biological Sciences
Summary of a Scientific Article
This assignment is generally intended to help you learn to synthesize scientific materials and communicate the main points effectively, using plain language.
Start by making sure you understand the central points of what you read. Explain the article in plain language to someone else and answer questions without referring back to the article, to make sure you have grasped the essence of what you read.
Dr. James Lawrey in the Biology Department uses this assignment to teach students to pick out the meaning of an article and convey the main points. The appropriate writing style for a summary of a scientific article is to use simple sentences that express one or two ideas. An example might be a story featured in the mainstream media that explains a recent scientific finding, bringing out the important aspects concisely and without too much scientific jargon.
Do not "cut and paste" from the article. When students do not really understand what they read, their writing is a jumble of statements nearly straight from the article, with no interpretation or synthesis of the article's findings. This strategy is common among students who wait until the last minute to complete assignments. Besides the fact that this practice borders on or actually is plagiarism, it shows that students do not understand what they are writing about, and their grades reflect this, according to Dr. Lawrey.
|An introduction to writing in Biology|
|Practical tips for scientific writing|
|Professors' perspectives on student writing|
|Specific Information for Writing Assignments|
|Short answers for tests|
|The poster session|
|Summary of a scientific article|
|Writing a scientific paper|
References and Credits
|General Ecology||The Writing Center|