Introduction to earth’s ecosystem
In general in scientific writing it is typical to use third person as demonstrated in this manual. The present tense should also be used for everything that exists in the present. These include data sets, manuscripts themselves, and the work of authors even if they are deceased. Actions or events that are clearly in the past should be described using past tense. This being said, some authors are more comfortable using personal tenses with “I have…” or “We.” If the student insists on using first person, the usage should be consistent, i.e. do not switch back and forth between tenses.
All work should be carefully organized with clear introductions stating the purpose of the essay or focus of the problem. Paragraphs should be laid out in a logical order. Typically in scientific and engineering papers this will involve an introduction, a methods section, a results section and a discussion and/or conclusion. For mathematics incorporated into papers see the following sections. There is also a discussion on the use of graphs and charts below. : This is a good time to start using acknowledgements in your work. These are typically found at the end of an article just before the references. In a journal article this is where collaborators who are not coauthors are thanked for their contributions. In homework this is also the appropriate place to acknowledge information that you gained from a lecture, since the lectures are not part of the open literature that a reader could find in a library or online. Appropriate references are typically considered to stem from juried (reviewed) literature. This means that the work should have been reviewed and published in scientific or engineering journals. Citing textbooks is allowed when documenting well known techniques and or solutions to specific mathematical problems. In general, it is not appropriate to quote a text book when the object is to refer to a specific piece of work in the juried literature. Instead it the original work should be cited. A text may be cited when it provides an overview of an entire field. The discussion should still quote the individual works that are pertinent to the discussion in the homework. A final note on textbooks is that they are usually out of date, therefore the newest juried literature is the place to start on homework.
When providing a reader with a reference list a good “rule of thumb” is to quote the most up to date references on the topic, a few of the major contributions on the issues, and the original work on the problem. Be explicit in discussing the role of each of the works cited in framing the conclusions in your paper. This is very important in documenting what you have added to our understanding of the problem with your own analysis. In other words carefully documenting what you have added.
Citations should appear in the text. While modern word processing has made it easy to use footnotes, you should use the authors’ names and the date for their work in the text. Single authors should appear as Smith (2001) if you are discussing the work outright in the sentence. If the citation is just to provide a source for further research by the reader, the citation usually appears at the end of the discussion as (Smith, 2001). In general, in scientific papers page numbers are not given in the text. For two authors, both are provided, i.e. Smith and Jones (2008). For three or more authors make use of the Latin et al., i.e. Jones et al. (2010). Again these should be worked into the narrative when you are actually discussing a work or placed in parenthesis if you are just supplying references for the reader to go to for further information. The reference section of your work should provide the reader all the information needed to find the work. In science the common widely used style is that of the American Chemical Society. There are a number of other formats also. Typically one must conform to a specific style of reference to comply with specific journals for publication. The important issue is to be consistent with a specific style. In the literature there are various templates for references. Any will be accepted for homework as long as they are consistently followed. Here are a set of examples: Haywood, A.M., P. J. Valdes, and B. W. Sellwood. 2000. Global scale paleoclimate reconstruction of the middle Pliocene climate using the UKMO GCM: Initial results. Global and Planet. Change, 25, 239-256.
Fiedler, P. C. and L. P. Talley 2006. Hydrography of the eastern tropical Pacific: A review. Prog. Oceanogr., 69, 143-180.
Mullen KM, Peters EC, Harvell CD 2004. Coral resistance to disease. In: Rosenberg E, Loya Y (eds) Coral Health and Disease. Springer, New York, pp 377-399
Greenspan, H. P. 1969. The Theory of Rotating Fluids. Cambridge Uni. Press., London, 328 pp.
Darwin, C. 1890. Coral Reefs, Volcanic Islands, South American Geology. Bettany ed., Ward, Lock and Co. G. T. London, pgs 312-318.
Note here the first two are juried articles. The journal titles area abbreviated and the citations includes the volume number and page numbers for the articles. Author lists include all of the authors and their initials. The Mullen article is in a book and therefore includes the editors in the citations (eds). The last two are also books, but involve single authors who are responsible for the publication and therefore there is not mention of an editor. The Greenspan book just lists the total number of pages. The Darwin citation involves a long book without an index. Therefore the page numbers for the specific quotation are given. The books also list the publisher and the city where they were published. This is particularly important for the Darwin quote since his writings are voluminous and this is not an easy book to find.