Instructions for Reference Check Exercise

Instructions for Reference Check Exercise

Goal:  Evolutionary biology, like all biological disciplines is built on a long history of supporting evidence vetting in peer-reviewed publications and books.  Most people don’t read the primary literature, and information sometimes becomes garbled through retelling as it finds its way to public venues including even general textbooks such as yours! To focus your attention on information quality, and encourage you to think about scientific information and reliability, you will engage in four “reference check” exercises during the semester as described below.

 

Due date and format:  Your work should be uploaded the appropriate Discussion Forum on Brightspace by Sunday evening at midnight.  Exercise 1, June 19; Exercise 2, June 26; Exercise 3, July 3; Exercise 4, July 10

 

Points:  25 points per exercise (four total exercises for 100 possible points)

 

Description:  Four times this semester you will select a statement from an assigned chapter of your text that is supported by a reference. Those references can be located at the end of the chapter in with the statement is found.   You will be required to obtain a copy of the reference cited (you will provide a link to the original article as evidence that you have found the original article).   Here are the elements that you should include (when applicable) in your short (200 to 400 word assessment:

 

Present the original statement from the text including the reference (see examples below).

Find and the original article connected to the reference.  Provide a link to where you found the paper.

What sort of communication is it?  Is it published in a reputable scientific journal using good methodology? Is it in the primary scientific literature (original data)? Is it a review of other work? Is it a comment/opinion piece? Is it a popular article in a magazine (e.g., National Geographic)? etc.  Is it peer reviewed?

In the paper find the portion of the paper that relates to the original statement from your text. If you can’t find that spot, explain what the paper does say on the issue, and what this means for the original statement. If needed, quote or describe what the original source actually says.

Is the original statement actually supported by these data? Are there alternative explanations to the outcome? Explain. Provides an expression of whether you feel the evidence supporting the statement is strong or weak and why.

If the communication is not primary literature (doesn’t present the actual results of a scientific study), where did the data come from? Find that source, and repeat all the above for it, until you finally find the original source of the data.

Assess if the original statement plagiarized?  “To borrow another writer’s language or ideas without proper acknowledgment is a form of dishonesty known as plagiarism” (Diana Hacker, 1997. A Pocket Style Manual, 2nd Edition.  Bedford Books, Boston, p. 91).  Did the author directly quote without acknowledgement? Did the author somehow take credit for an idea that was not his or he

The goal of your summaries should be to demonstrate how you have deepened your knowledge of the particular topic by examining the original literature and that you have gained confidence (or not!) in the statements from the text.  Feel free to write more than 400 words or ask questions. Your reference check reports will be visible to other students in the class who are free to comment on your summary. You should also look at other student’s answers to learn from them and get ideas for how to better examine and report on the literature in the future.

 

You are free amend your reports or add additional comments any time prior to the deadline for the assignment.  I will be able to see all of your comments and those which you may have made about other stud…

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