EEB2245W Spring 2012

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Revision as of 02:35, 3 January 2012 by ElizabethJockusch (Talk | contribs) (New page: ==Instructors<br/>== Dr. Elizabeth Jockusch, ''coordinator'' | '''Office''': BioPharm 305B, '''Phone''': 486-4452, '''e-mail''': elizabeth.jockusch [at]<br/> Dr. Susan Herrick |...)

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Dr. Elizabeth Jockusch, coordinator | Office: BioPharm 305B, Phone: 486-4452, e-mail: elizabeth.jockusch [at]

Dr. Susan Herrick | Office: TLS 470, Phone: 486-0178, e-mail: susan.herrick [at]

Dr. Kristiina Hurme | Office: TLS 397A, Phone: 486-5434, e-mail: kristiina.hurme [at]

Dr. Carl Schlichting | Office: TLS 366, Phone: 486-4056, e-mail: carl.schlichting [at]

Dr. Kurt Schwenk | Office: BioPharm 600, Phone: 486-0351, e-mail: kurt.schwenk [at]

Dr. Ted Taigen | Office: TLS 184, Phone: 486-4154, e-mail: tehodore.taigen [at]

Dr. Peter Turchin | Office: TLS 462, Phone: 486-3603, e-mail: peter.turchin [at]

This website contains information for the W portion of the course only. For the lecture portion of the course, click here

Sign up sheets, instructor assignments, and quizzes for the W part of the course are available on HuskyCT


Library sessions

Watch here for the library session schedule. Sessions will be offered during the first two weeks of classes. Sign up on HuskyCT.


All assignments are submitted to, and graded by, your instructor. Your instructor will also provide additional information, either by email or through this EEB2245W website, about assignment requirements, assignment submission, and required meetings.

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 assignments are geared towards writing a term paper on a subject that interests you in evolutionary biology. 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. Your instructor will help you. By the end of the course, you will be an expert on this topic!


  • Meetings: All W students must sign up for and attend one library resources session during the 1st or 2nd week of classes. Sign-up is through HuskyCT. Failure to attend one of these sessions may result in being dropped from the W section. Your instructor may require additional meetings.

  • Quizzes: All students must pass 3 online quizzes, which will be administered through HuskyCT.

  • Assignments: The final written product in this course is a review paper that defends a significant claim in evolutionary biology using data from the primary literature. This paper should be 4500-5000 words in length (about 15 pages) and cite a minimum of 8 references from the primary literature. Primary literature is written by the author(s) of the scientific research. Secondary literature is written by someone other than the author and could contain factual errors. To guide you through the process of researching and writing your paper, there are four term paper assignments.


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. This form of plagiarism will result in an F for the course. 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. Penalties for these forms of plagiarism will range from a requirement to rewrite the assignment (if proper citations are included) to a 0 for the assignment to an F for the course (if proper citations are not included). Of course, you’ll be discussing the ideas of others in your paper, but you must express the ideas in your own words and cite the reference for each idea that is not your own in the text. Direct quotes, even with quotation marks, are to be used sparingly if at all (see writing tips/advice below).

Schedule and deadlines

Due date Assignment Details
1st-2nd week Library resources meeting Times will be announced on this website; sign up on HuskyCT
Fri., Jan. 27 Term paper topic A brief description of your term paper topic with a list of at least 3 references you plan to use, including at least one recent one (2010-2012). The references should be listed in the proper format for a "Literature Cited" section. Correspondence with your instructor about possible topics before this deadline is required.
Fri., Feb. 10 Quiz 1: plagiarism and citations HuskyCT
Fri., Feb. 10 Term paper assignment #1 Your instructor will provide guidelines.
Week of Feb. 13 or Feb. 21 Instructor meetings To discuss assignment #1. Your instructor will provide sign up instructions.
Fri., March 9 Quiz 2: characteristics of scientific writing HuskyCT
Fri., March 9 Term paper assignment #2: partial draft A draft of a portion of the term paper, ca. 1500 words (ca. 5 pages) in length. This draft should incorporate feedback received on the first assignment. Your instructor may provide additional guidelines.
Week of March 19 Instructor meetings To discuss assignment #2.
Fri., April 6 Quiz 3: grammar HuskyCT
Fri., April 6 Term paper assignment #3: complete draft Turn in a complete draft of your term paper in the required format. This should reflect a serious effort on your part to produce an already polished paper that you have edited (repeatedly) and proofread carefully. The previously submitted portion should be revised in response to instructor feedback.
Week of April 16 Instructor meetings To discuss complete draft of term paper.
Fri., April 27 Term paper assignment #4: revision Final draft with revisions based on comments received on draft.


Term paper assignment 110%
Term paper assignment 2 (partial draft)15%
Term paper assignment 3 (complete draft)25%
Term paper assignment 2 (final revision)50%

Grading notes

  • Your grade in the W section is one quarter of your course grade in EEB 245W. In accordance with university regulations, a failing grade for this section will result in an ‘F’ for the entire course.
  • 3% of the points will be deducted for each day an assignment is late. However, each student is entitled to 2 free late days (the first 2 used, no questions asked).
  • No assignment will be accepted until all previous requirements have been met. For example, this means that you cannot submit a revised term paper unless you submitted, and received feedback on, a complete draft.
  • Quiz scores are not used in calculating W grades. However, students must receive at least the minimum passing score indicated on HuskyCT prior to submitting the assignment due the same day. Failure to complete the quizzes as required will result in late penalties for the associated assignment.

Grading rubric: This table explains some of the major differences distinguishing strong, satisfactory and problematic papers. Use this as a checklist to improve your grade.


Here is a checklist you should use before submitting your complete draft. We also suggest that you review the term paper assignment and any additional information provided by your instructor.

  • Does your paper begin with an abstract that summarizes your main points?
  • Does your paper have a clear thesis statement? (See this blog entry on thesis statements for more information.)
  • Does the introduction give readers enough context and background to follow your arguments?
  • Have you supported all of your claims with evidence from the primary literature?
  • Have you cited sources properly in the text and literature cited sections? (See the citation page and quiz 1 on HuskyCT for reminders on how to do this).
  • Do you use at least 8 primary sources?
  • Does your paper have an informative title?
  • Have you formatted scientific names properly? (See the scientific writing tips sheet for more information.)
  • Have you proofread a printed copy of your paper? It helps to read the paper out loud.
  • Have you checked the spelling? Remember that MSWord doesn't always know the scientific lingo, so don't assume it's right. (For example, it will want to turn phylogenetic into phylogenic. Don't let it!)
  • Did you follow the formatting and length requirements?

Getting help

There are many resources available to help you succeed in this course, but you need to seek them out. Good places to start are listed below. Be sure to take advantage of these resources!

  • the #EEB2245W Resources links below: these provide more information about specific assignments and tips to help you avoid common problems.
  • the UConn Writing Center: the Writing Center offers individual meetings with tutors (it’s free). Past experiences of students in this class have been very positive.
  • Suegene Noh's EEB 2245W blog: this blog was aimed toward students in 2245W during the Spring 2008 semester, but much of the information is still relevant and you are strongly encouraged to look at what Suegene has posted.
  • your W instructor

EEB2245W Resources

Term Paper Assignment

Tips for Getting Started

Possible Term Paper Topics

General rules for citing sources in scientific writing

Scientific writing advice

Writing Tips