Who's Who

Instructor:  Mickey S. Schafer, Ph.D.

201 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

The brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
 With ease, and you beside.

The 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

"In science the credit goes to the man [or woman] who convinces the world, not to the [woman or] man to whom the idea occurs"   -- Sir Francis Bacon

"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.

The 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.

    1. Save all assignments with your name + the name of the assignment.
      • ex: "John Doe Bullet Analysis 1" or "Jane Eyre Review Paper"
    2. Send all email messages with a subject line that starts with "thesis" and ends with an informative, updated topic
      • Please do not just "reply" to messages we've sent without changing the topic AND adding "thesis".
    3. When working with multiple drafts of a paper, incorporate comments by using the "Accept" or "Reject" function in the Word Review menu bar. Do this before submitting another draft or the final copy.
    4. Check your ufl.edu mail regularly. We will send out class messages, reminders, updates, etc, to the class list-serv. If you do not check your email, you will not know what's happening, and yet you will be held responsible for the information.


Course Links

Student Resources

Attribution Info

  • Creative Commons License