BIO 801
Scientific Literature and Writing - Biology

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

Text: Day, R.A. 1998. How to write & publish a scientific paper, 5th edition. Oryx Press, Phoenix, AZ.

Lecture notes: click here!

Guidelines for oral presentations: click here!

Guidelines for poster presentations: click here!

Links to useful sites about scientific writing:

Strunk's Elements
of Style
Common Grammar, Usage,
& Spelling Problems
Writer's Handbook:
Scientific Reports
Writing Guidelines for
Engineering & Science Students
Guide to Grammar
& Style
Writing Better
Technical Writing
It's vs. Its
Citing On-line Sources
Grammar, Spelling, 
& Punctuation
Resources for Writers

Resources available from the EKU Library: click here!

Course objectives:

Course requirements:


Final grades will be assigned based on total points earned:
517 - 575 A
460 - 516 B
402 - 459 C
345 - 401 D
< 344 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.

**Please return the 1st version to me when you turn in the 2nd version.

Attendance policy: Attendance is required only for exams, oral presentations, & poster presentations. Those absent with no legitimate reason on the dates of oral presentations & poster 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 almost every morning (8:00 - 11:30).

Disability Statement: If you are registered with the Office of Services for Individuals with Disabilities, please make an appointment with the course instructor to discuss any academic accommodations you need. If you need academic accommodations and are not registered with the Office of Services for Individuals with Disabilities, please contact the Office directly either in person on the first floor of the Turley House or by telephone at (859) 622-1500 V/TTY. Upon individual request, this syllabus can be made available in alternative forms.

Tentative Schedule:

January 13 - Introduction to scientific literature & writing; Reading & citing the scientific literature

January 20 - Scientific Writing & Editing: Basic Guidelines

January 27 - Use of EKU Library (Government documents, FirstSearch, Biological Abstracts, & Zoological Record)

February 3 - Getting funded: Writing Proposals

    February 6 - No class but FIRST DRAFT OF PROPOSAL DUE

February 10 - EXAM 1

February 17 - Getting funded: writing proposals

February 24 - SLRC Resources (e.g., slide scanner & use of Adobe Photoshop) + Guidelines for writing a scientific paper I

March 2 - Introduction to PowerPoint (if needed) + Guidelines for writing a scientific paper II & FINAL VERSION OF PROPOSAL DUE

March 16 - Guidelines for writing a scientific paper III

March 23 - EXAM 2

March 30 - Guidelines for writing a scientific paper IV

        April 2 - No class but FIRST VERSION OF RESEARCH PAPER DUE

April 6 - Guidelines for oral presentationsGuidelines for poster presentations

April 13 - EXAM 3

April 20 - Oral presentations (Jessica Moorleghen, Seth Bishop, Jessica Bevins, Elana Scopa, Mike Strunk, & Hanna Davis)

         April 23 - No class but FINAL VERSION OF RESEARCH PAPER DUE

April 27 - Oral Presentations (see the oral presentation evaluation form) (Rose-Marie Roessler, Chelsey Olson, Nicole Ranalli, Lance Watt, Jennifer Wilson, & Lee Droppelman)

May 4 (6:00 - 7:00 p.m.) - Poster Presentations (see the 'Call for Posters' & the poster evaluation form)

Other useful links:

A Dictionary of Units of Measurement

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

The Science of Scientific Writing

Tips for Preparing and Delivering Scientific Talks and Using Visual Aids

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