Writing Resources

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Writing Resources

    Discipline-Specific Guidelines
  Chem-Bio Alignment Chemistry Biology
Introduction
  • No direct quotes
  • Everything except hypothesis(es) should be written in passive voice*
   
Materials & Methods
  • Passive voice*
  • No direct quotes
  • See pg. 114-117 in Pechenik's chemistry text for level of detail
  • Section may be titled "Materials" or "Experimental"
  • Does not include equations
  • Section may be titled "Materials" or "Materials and Methods"
  • Equations in Materials and Methods section, not in results section
  • Common practice to cite
Results
  • Passive voice*
  • Graphs should be generated in Excel
  • Instructor should discuss how to determine the best way to graph specific types of data (when to use a line graph vs scatterplot with line of best fit)
  • Tables should not be split with a page break
  • Caption and respective graph should be on same page, not separated by a page break
  • Show uncertainty if applicable

 

Figure Captions

  • All figures need to have captions (no titles)
  • Numbered figure caption placed below figure*
  • Should begin with a sentence fragment that reads like the title of a newspaper article
  • What is plotted on each axis
  • Other information needed to understand the figure (sample size, uncertainty, etc.)

 

Table Captions

  • Numbered figure caption placed above table**
  • Should begin with a sentence fragment that reads like the title of a newspaper article
  • Other information needed to understand the figure (sample size, uncertainty, etc.)
  • Equations in results section, not in materials and methods section
  • Need not cite equations that are found in most textbooks, such as standard deviation formula or integrated forms of rate laws
  • Provide a sample for each type of calculation performed
  • Equation editor must be used
  • Results section may not require a description of the trends in paragraph form; may only contain tables and captions
  • Most figures show scatterplot with line of best fit
  • Does not include equations
  • Results secton requires a description of trends in paragraph form
  • References figures and tables "(Fig. 1)" in the order that they are presented
Discussion
  • How observed results compare to expected results (hypothesis)
  • Do not address systematic errors without evidence
  • What additional questions arise as a result of this Study?  How will you test those questions? etc.
  • See Discussion Materials on TSAM Canvas site
  • No direct quotes
  • Students are more likely to refer to the textbook and lecture notes than to published papers
  • Reflect on relationship between experimental error and deviation from expected results
  • Last paragraph should summarize the experiment/study
  • Students compare their methodology and results to those in published papers

*There is a lack of consensus about the use of passive or active voice, so this may vary between courses depending on instructor preference.

**This should, at minimum, be mentioned by the instructor. The instructor can choose whether this should be part of the grade.