EEB 2245W

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Evolution 2245W-Fall 2008

NOTE: For Spring 2009 EEB2245W Information, click here

Instructor: Dr. Chuck Smith Office: BioPharm 412

Office Phone: 486-4158 Office Hours: By appointment

Email: (Your emails to me MUST contain the phrase “EEB2245W” in the subject line; email received without that phrase, and especially those with a blank subject line, will be DELETED without being read.)

Course Goals: The goals of this course are to help you learn to present your ideas and arguments in clear, well-organized prose and to introduce you to library research in biology. Because it is a science course, some of what you learn about writing will apply principally to scientific writing, but your efforts in this course will also translate into enhanced skills in other writing tasks. The assignment is geared towards writing a term paper on a subject that interests you in evolutionary biology. This is a review paper in which you will address a well-defined question of broad evolutionary significance using data from the primary literature. It is very important that you devote time and thought to your choice of topic so that you enjoy the research that goes into this paper.

General Information: All assignments are due in my mailbox in TLS 312 (the EEB office) by 4 PM on the due date. Have the secretary indicate the date and time the paper was handed in. The assignment can also be handed in personally to me. Assignments will be returned outside my office. Submit all work in computer-printed or typed form, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins and page numbers. Pay close attention to all format and length requirements.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s ideas or words as your own. In its most blatant form, it involves quoting without quotation marks or without proper attribution of credit, including doing so from another student’s paper or from a commercially available one. Paraphrasing without giving credit, or changing only a few words (i.e. paraphrasing too closely) even if you give credit are also examples of plagiarism. Of course, you’ll be discussing the ideas of others in your paper, but make sure you cite the reference for each idea in the text. The minimum penalty for plagiarism on any assignment is a 0 for the assignment. Students who plagiarize can also be subject to more serious penalties, including failure of the course and expulsion from the University. Additional information on plagiarism is included at the end of this syllabus. You must read through the required material relating to plagiarism and sign and submit the attached form before Friday, September 5, 2008.

Grading notes

1. Your grade in the W section is one quarter of your course grade in EEB 2245W. In accordance with university regulations, a failing grade for this section will result in an ‘F’ for the entire course.

2. 3% of the points will be deducted for each day an assignment is late up to a maximum of 15%.

3. Students who plagiarize or otherwise violate academic integrity are subject to serious penalties, including failure for the course.

sample of draft student paper, excluding conclusion:Pdficon small.gif

another sample of draft student paper, excluding conclusion:Pdficon small.gif

Details of Term Paper Assignment

Organization of the paper

Here’s a useful (and amusing) example, put together by Dr. Kurt Schwenk, to get you thinking about how to cite references:

Tips for Getting Started

Writing Tips

General rules for citing sources in scientific writing

Scientific writing advice

Schedule and Deadlines and Grading Scheme

Possible Term Paper Topics

Policy on Plagiarism

Additional Resources:

Sugene Noh has developed a blog designed to assist 2245W students. While the blog is aimed toward students in 245W during the Spring 2008 semester, much of the information is still relevant and you are strongly encouraged to look at what Sugene has posted. The blog may be accessed at:

The UConn writing center ( is available to provide additional help at all stages in the writing and revising process. They provide individual tutors to work with you (it's free), and the past experience of EEB 2245W students has been very positive.

Grading breakdown (100 point scale)

To be determined