Review Format

The paper assignment requires you to summarize a highly technical research article for the public.  Assume you are writing for the local newspaper. Your job is to summarize a recent article on evolutionary biology, so you must understand the topic well enough to make it intelligible to a non-scientific audience. This will require some research by you. Once you are thoroughly familiar with the topic, you must report on the newsworthy content of the article.You must make it clear and informative, even entertaining if possible. Your editor (me) will decide how well you accomplish this. He (me) has also restricted you to three pages (double-spaced, 12 pt font).  

Writing the paper:

The review paper must be typed (printed). Three pages maximum length, standard double spaced, 12 pt font  (more or less--see me if you are significantly over or under this page limit). The first paragraph is most critical because it informs the reader about the topic, any necessary background information and the objective of the study. Since it is so important, your first effort at a first paragraph will be submitted early and peer-reviewed by your classmastes.


Your paper is written for a general audience, so you must boil down a lengthy and difficult research paper (written for a professional audience) to its essential content and significance (but this is what you're paid to do). This means you must define terms and set up the reader with necessary background material. All of the writing must be your own. DO NOT quote sections of the paper or cite other sources.

As you orgainze your paper, include at least a paragraph (more if necessary) on each of the following topics (but do not include the headings--remember, this is a newspaper article):

First pararaph:

Second paragraph:

Third (or more) paragraphs:

Final section and conclusion:




Use standard poster board (any color); all posters must be the same size (56 X 71 cm). No foam-backed mounting boards can be used. The methods you use to present your research topic on the poster will determine its effectiveness and, ultimately, your grade. As a general rule, text and graphics should cover no more that 3/4 of the surface (2/3 is better). Place the text boxes near graphical information and link them together. Use font sizes that are easily viewed from a distance. All of this requires careful editing of text and choice of graphics. Try various approaches before mounting the items on the poster.

Be sure to include a title, your name and the course number. Include (in a small text box at the bottom) a list of citations used to obtain the information presented (this is a requirement). Make sure your citations are properly formatted. They should include author(s), date of publication, title of article and place where it was published with information necessary to retrieve it. The articles cited in your textbook are formatted in a typical way, and I provide here an example of a list of articles with the proper format.

Delavault, P. M., V. Sakanyan, and P. Thalouarn.  1995.  Divergent evolution of two plastid genes, rbcL and atpB, in a non-photosynthetic parasitic plant.  Plant Molecular Biology 29:  1071-1079.

Lohan, A. J. and K. H. Wolfe.  1998.  A subset of conserved tRNA genes in plastid DNA of nongreen plants.  Genetics 150:  425-433.

Nei, M. and T. Gojobori.  1986.  Simple methods for estimating the numbers of synonymous and nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions.  Molecular Biology and Evolution 3:  418-426.

Randle, C. P. and A. Wolfe.  2005.  The evolution and expression of rbcL in holoparasitic sister-genera Harveya and Hyobanche (Orobanchaceae).  Amer. J. Bot. 92:  1575-1585.

Grading of the poster will be done by your classmates. Your poster grade will be worth 20% of the course grade (this includes the review, which is graded by me). Remember that your audience is the class and adjust the presentation appropriately. All posters will be mounted in a public location (in David King Hall) and will be left for a short period for public viewing (with your name attached), so do your best.

The following questions are offered as a guide to producing your poster.  They are also listed on the grading sheets students will use when they grade your poster:

1. Is the poster topic interesting?
2. Is the presentation suitable for the class?
3. How well is text material used?
4. How well is graphical material used?
5. How well researched is the topic?

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