BIO 801
Scientific Literature and Writing - Biology

Instructor: Gary Ritchison
Office: Moore 237
Office phone: 859-622-1541

Text: Day, R.A., and B. Gastel. 2011. How to write & publish a scientific paper, 7th edition. Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.

Lecture notes: click here!

Guidelines for oral presentations: click here!

Guidelines for poster presentations: click here!

Links to useful sites about scientific writing:

Resources available from the EKU Library: click here!

Course objectives:

Course requirements:


Final grades will be assigned based on total points earned:
436 - 485 A
388 - 435 B
339 - 387 C
291 - 338 D
< 290 F

*Although my comments on the 1st version of these assignments may be extensive, they should not be considered exhaustive. In other words, the absence of any comments on a particular sentence or paragraph does not mean that you shouldn’t re-evaluate that sentence or paragraph for the final submission. Based on what you learn about writing in this course plus any comments I do make on the 1st version, you should be able to determine if editing or re-writing (or deletion) might improve those parts of the manuscript that I’ve not specifically critiqued. In addition, good writing depends on context. Thus, changes you make in the 1st version may require changes in the final version - even though I may not have made specific comments.

Attendance policy: Attendance is required only for exams and oral presentations. Those absent with no legitimate reason on the dates of oral presentations will be penalized 5% of their total points at the end of the semester. Please, if possible, see me in advance if you must be absent on dates when attendance is required.

Mid-term grade: If you have any questions about your grade at mid-term, please feel free to stop by my office.

Office hours: I will be in my office daily.

Disability Accommodation Statement: A student with a "disability" may be an individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as learning, seeing or hearing. Additionally, pregnancy accompanied by medical conditions that causes a similar substantial limitation may also be considered under the ADA. If you are registered with the Office of Services for Individuals with Disabilities, please obtain your accommodation letters from the OSID and present them to the course instructor to discuss any academic accommodations you need. If you believe you need accommodation and are not registered with the OSID, please contact the office in the Whitlock Building Room 361, by email at or by telephone at (859) 622-2933. Upon individual request, this syllabus can be made available in an alternative format.

Academic Integrity: Students are advised that EKU's Academic Integrity Policy will strictly be enforced in this course.  The Academic Integrity policy is available at statement is applicable to all EKU students in all courses regardless of whether it appears in the class syllabus.Questions regarding the policy may be directed to the Office of Academic Integrity.

Tentative Schedule:

August 23 - Introduction to scientific literature & writing; use of EKU library resources

August 30 - Scientific Writing & Editing: Basic Guidelines

September 6 - Getting funded: writing proposals 

September 13 - Getting funded: writing proposals  and FIRST DRAFT OF PROPOSAL INTRODUCTION DUE  

September 20 - Guidelines for writing a scientific paper I and FIRST DRAFT OF PROPOSAL METHODS (+ LIT. CITED & BUDGET) DUE

September 27 - 'TAKE-HOME' EXAM 1

October 4 - Guidelines for writing a scientific paper II

October 11 - EXAM 2

Friday, October 14 - FINAL VERSION OF PROPOSAL DUE (via email)

October 18 - No class - Fall break

October 25 - Guidelines for writing a scientific paper III

November 1 - EXAM 3

November 8 - No class - Election day

------- Friday, November 11 - FIRST VERSION OF RESEARCH PAPER DUE (via email)

November 15 - Guidelines for oral presentations

November 22 - Guidelines for poster presentations  

November 29 -Oral presentations (see the oral presentation evaluation form

December 6 - 'TAKE-HOME' EXAM 4  

----- Tuesday, December 13 - No class, but FINAL VERSION OF RESEARCH PAPER DUE (via email)

December 15 - POSTER PRESENTATIONS DUE (via email) (see the poster evaluation form)

Other useful links:

A Dictionary of Units of Measurement

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Back to Gary Ritchison's Homepage