Rubric for Written Portion of Practice & Theory Project
The following rubric is meant to help you structure your written essay. Please bring this with you during your writing orientation and use it at all times, when you are working on your essay.
a. Font: Times New Roman, size 12, 1.5-spaced
b. Between 5-7 pages, not including pictures and tables
c. Text should be separated by sections (Introduction, Practice Methodology, Practice Results, Discussion/Conclusion, Literature Review)
d. Essay should be proof-read by peers. Points will be deducted for typos.
By reading the title, the work being reported should be clear, without the reader having to go through the whole paper itself. The title Environmental Biology Essay tells the reader nothing. An example of a good, self-explanatory title would be: The environmental advantages of organic versus conventional farming.
Though the abstract is the first thing a reader has access to on your essay, it is the last thing that is written by the researchers. The abstract is a summary containing key statements for your Introduction, Methodology, Results and Discussion. It should not be longer than a paragraph.
Starts with a broad opening statement and ends with specific information about your proposed project (including objectives). Some of your literature research should go here.
a. Explains to the reader all the relevant steps taken to accomplish the practical portion of your project (ex. of non-relevant information: I chose to work at the Organic Learning Garden because it is super close to my house.)
b. The level of detail should be such that the reader would be able to repeat exactly what you did and obtain the same results if following your methodology.
c. Written in a text format, without bullet points
d. Written using past tense, as a scientist, not as a student
e. Written in first person (we), not as a recipe or guideline
f. If you are running a statistical analysis, mention type (see professor if needed)
Practice Results and Discussion
a. This section of an essay has the objective of explaining what happened during your practical experience, followed by your interpretation of these results.
b. Use your literature review to i) compare results and ii) help you validate your interpretation, iii) strengthen your findings/observations.
c. If presenting pictures or tables, do not let them speak for themselves. These resources are there to strengthen your statement. Ask the following question to verify if you have not replaced your text with visual material: If the tables and figures were removed from the essay, is the reader still able to capture, in detail, all the relevant information?
a. Revisit your hypotheses and inform the reader about which ones were supported and which ones were not.
b. Finish your essay with a short, conclusive statement (roughly 3 sentences). This should be your take-home message to the reader.
Per member: At least 1 peer-reviewed article (primary or secondary) and 1 tertiary article. These articles can be mentioned at any point of your essay. Here are some examples of when articles are cited:
b. project comparison,
c. validating information,
d. justifying an idea/hypothesis/thought
e. helping you reach a conclusion on that subject
Please see citation format guide below.*
Pictures and tables
a. Number both pictures and tables, and add a short caption.
Ex. (Figure 1: Preparing food scraps to be decomposed at the Organic Learning Garden.
b. Figures and tables must be cited in your text (they are there to help illustrate a point).
Ex 1. Figure 1 illustrates the initial process of decomposition: food scraps are cut into small pieces and are, later, included in the compost pile. Plant-based compost is ready to be used in organic plots after roughly 2 months. OR
Ex. 2: Food scraps are cut into small pieces (Figure 1) and are, later, included in the compost pile. Plant-based compost is ready to be used in organic plots after roughly 2 months.
c. Captions should be located above pictures and below tables. Include source whenever necessary.
Table 1: Development of organic agricultural land in North America (2000-2012). Source: COG and USDA
*Format guide: in-text citations and literature cited
Scientific studies are generally designed in light of the assumptions, theories, results, and discussions from previous work. These past studies are cited to acknowledge the work of others and direct the reader to related background information.
Some tips for citing studies in your text
Do not give the title of the study.
Do not quote phrases or sentences. Paraphrase and cite the study instead.
If you are discussing the same study for multiple sentences, place the citation at the end or beginning of the first sentence.
Be careful not to cite a citation. In other words, if you read something interesting in the Introduction of an article, the authors may have been citing another work. You may not cite that cited paper, unless you can access it yourself. Otherwise, this gives room to misinterpretation (he said, she said).
Formatting citations in your text
Use authors last name and year of publication:
one author (Smith 2005)
two authors (Smith and Jones 2005)
three + authors (Smith et al. 2005) (et al. stand for and collaborators)
If using a citation at the end of a sentence:
Research has shown that the amount of time between sampling events is negatively correlated with the accuracy of the estimate (Smith 2005).
If you choose to use the authors name in the sentence, then it should be formatted like this:
Smith (2005) tested the effect of time between sampling events, and found that longer intervals produced less accurate estimates.
Formatting Literature Review section (source: easybib.com)
Last, F. M. (Date Published). Book title. City, State: Publisher.
Last, F. M. (Date Published). Article title. Journal Title, Volume(Issue), Page(s).
Last, F. M. (Date Published). Article title. Magazine Title, Volume(Issue), Page(s).
Last, F. M. (Date Published). Web page title. Retrieved from Homepage URL
Last, F. M. (Year, Month Day published). Article title. Newspaper Title, Page(s).
Note: If there is no date, use n.d in parentheses, which means no date.
Note: When there is no author for a web page, the title moves to the first position of the reference entry.)
Rubric for Written Portion of Practice & Theory Project