Fun_People Archive
27 May
Student Science Writing Skills

Date: Fri, 27 May 94 00:34:22 PDT
To: Fun_People
Subject: Student Science Writing Skills

Forwarded-by: <jir@MIT.EDU>
From:	The mini-Annals of Improbable Research ("mini-AIR")
	Issue Number 1994-01  May, 1994  ISSN 1076-500X
Reprinted with permission.

1994-01-05      Student Science Writing Skills Documented

by Rebecca German, Biology Department, University of Cincinnati

A non-biology majors course in Introductory Biology was given this
  Prepare a one page summary of Stephen Jay Gould's essay about
  the evolution of the Panda's Thumb, published by W.W. Norton.
On the assignment sheet, the author and publisher's names were displayed
in large print, courtesy of Kinko's Campus Copying. The instructions
including the following details:
  Your opening sentence should summarize the author's central idea.
  Do not start this sentence with "The main idea is...."; rather use
  something like "Darwin maintains that survival of the fittest is the
  basis of natural selection".

Results of three sections, totaling 426 students:
  68.1% started their essays with the sentence "Gould maintains that..."
  9.2% started their essays with the sentence "Darwin maintains that..."
  0.2% started their essay with the sentence "W.W. Norton maintains..."

(c) copyright 1994, Marc Abrahams

        The Annals of Improbable Research is IN NO WAY associated
        with the name "The Journal of Irreproducible Results"
        or with the publisher of "The Journal of Irreproducible Results"

[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []