w riting g uidelines for the School of Biological Sciences
Our aim in setting an essay as part of your assessment is for you to learn
to obtain information from the scientific literature,
to synthesize information from diverse sources,
to use it to critically evaluate and discuss arguments or ideas, and
then to communicate these to the reader.
Most scientific communication is by means of published papers. It is important, therefore, that you learn to communicate effectively by the written word. As with all English writing, a scientific essay should be clear, concise, pertinent and written with clarity of expression and accuracy of facts.
Developing an ability to communicate ideas on paper is a crucial part of your education. For the major ity of people this is a creative art that is painstakingly developed over many years and experience is the only way to achieve proficiency.
We strongly recommend that you purchase a copy of the following book to guide you in the techniques of writing about biology: Pechenik JA
'A s hort g uide to w riting a bout b iology.'
th e d n . (Longman:
Y ork) Hargrave
Andrew Library Call No: 808.06657 P365S
There are numerous other books on the subject (in the Hargrave
Andrew Library) that you w ill also find h elpful . Look for call numbers around 808.0665. Some examples are:
'Scientists m ust w rite.
2 nd e d n
) 'Essay w riting for s tudents
: a practical guide.'
r d e d n
Ex pectations of a scientific essay are quite different from a VCE assignment. Firstly, you are expected to make your own search of the literature, using mostly material found in the Hargrave
Andrew Library (or any other library at a tertiary education or res earch institute). This is a time