Rolfs Hall / Tigert 302 (on T afternoons and all day Th) -- office hours: MW5th and by appointment
mailbox: 402 Rolfs Hall
Please note that this class is limited to students who are planning to graduate in Spring 2014 (or thereabouts) AND who are writing a thesis using some kind of experimental or quantitative methodology (but may be in any field).
About this Class
brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside.
brain is deeper than the sea,
For, hold them, blue to blue,
The one the other will absorb,
As sponges, buckets do.
The brain is just the weight of God, For, lift them, pound for pound,
And they will differ, if they do,
As syllable from sound.
-- Emily Dickinson
credit goes to the
man [or woman] who convinces the world, not to the [woman or] man to
whom the idea occurs"
"For those who reach maturity with their natural curiosity intact and enhanced by education, the joy of discovery is a strong driver of success. The joy of research, however, can be fleeting or at best fickle." --W. Franklin Gilmore, President Sigma Xi
In this course we will ponder the relationship between good science and good writing, and explore how writing is inseparable from scientific research: "Reading and writing scientific literature is an indispensable part of a scientist's work. Specifically, scientific literature is arguably the most important communication channel within the scientific community, making available for practitioners the collective wisdom and knowledge of the community" (Ben-David Kokikant, Gatchell, Hirsch, Linsenmeier, 2006, 20). As Sir Francis Bacon's statement reminds us, the best research in the world is virtually worthless if the scientist is unable to communicate his or her results clearly to other scientists.
We will take the approach that writing is a skill that can be learned when you know the rules and are willing to practice. We will also treat writing as a product which connects a writer and a reader, so we will consider audiences and whatthey might expect from a scientific article. Ultimately, it is the intention of this class to help you graduate with an honors thesis that you are proud of. To accomplish these goals, your major assignments are:
The Review Paper
This is the assignment pulling together the published sources of information about your research. The Review Paper prepares you to write the Introduction and Discussion sections of your thesis.
While this may seem self-explanatory...we will break the thesis down into its parts -- Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion -- exploring the functions of each section, and writing the paper in easy-to-produce drafts.
The Publishable Paper
Okay, so you thought you were done when you wrote the Thesis...not quite. Your P.I./chair/mentor/supervisor also wants the information they can really use, which is the publishable version of your thesis. This will mostly mean revising the introduction according to journal standards and perhaps trimming the Methods section a bit.
The Poster Session
The final achievement in the communication of Science is the visual/auditory delivery! So, we'll end the semester with a Poster Session for which you will prepare professional posters of your thesis work and take part in a poster session, asking and answering questions with your classmates. We may even invite your committees for the day!
Getting a Sense of the Evolving Publishing Options
You've heard of web2.0, right? Well, science has not escaped unscathed. Some might even claim there's a revolution going on. We'll spend some time exploring and using the new communication and publication tools/ideas happening in science right now. Why? Because you are the generation who will decide how this all works.
Electronic Environments -- Working in an electronic environment necessitates some practices on your part that keep lines of communication clear.
- Save all assignments with your name + the name of the assignment.
- ex: "John Doe Bullet Analysis 1" or "Jane Eyre Review Paper"
- Please do not just "reply" to messages we've sent without changing the topic AND adding "thesis".