discussion-paper-11

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Discussion Paper

Each student will write a 7-10 page discussion paper, which will explore a topic of your choice (the topic must be approved by your T.A.). The discussion paper will count for 15 percent toward your final grade. The purpose of this exercise is to give you a chance to study some aspect of physiology in greater depth, to develop your skills in writing understandable English, and to introduce you to the use of the physiology literature. These papers will be original works that have not previously been, or concurrently, submitted to other courses (e.g., PHSL320). Your paper will be graded by your laboratory TA according to the following criteria:

1. Content:

This is a physiology course and your paper should be written from a physiological point of view. Do not bite off more than you can chew. Choose a small aspect of your topic and write about it in depth.

2. Organization:

Group your information; put all material about one topic together, rather than scattering it throughout the piece. It is perfectly acceptable to head each of your sections with a title.

3. References:

They should be appropriate to the point you are trying to make. Strictly speaking, every factual statement you make should have a citation. In practice, scientists do not quote references for things that are “common knowledge”, but findings, scientific results, controversial statements or statements that you think your reader might like to know more about, should have references.

You should prepare your references using the style of Ann Intern Med 1997; 126:36-47. They should come at the end of your paper, should be listed alphabetically according to the last name of the first author and then numbered serially (one through whatever). When you cite a reference in the paper, you should put the appropriate reference number in parentheses at the proper place in your paper.

In the reference list at the end of your paper, you should list journal articles as follows: author’s last name, title of article, abbreviated name of journal, volume, inclusive pages, and year.

Example: Dozios R.R., Kelly K.A. Effects of gastrin pentapeptide on canine emptying of liquids. Am J Physiol 1971;21:113-117.

For book references, list: author(s), title of book, edition, publisher, year and pages (preceded by “p.”).

Example: Widmaier, E.P., Raff, H., Strang, K.T. Vander’s Human Physiology. 12th ed. McGraw Hill; 2011. p. 627-628.

4. Original papers:

In general, there are three levels at which scientists spread the word about the research they have done: the original paper, the review article, and the textbook. By writing this paper, you are in effect writing at the review level. To ensure that you have an opportunity to experience original articles, you are also required to choose 2 such articles related to your discussion paper topic and to write an abstract of each article in 100 of your own words (100 word limit; i.e., no more than 100 words), which summarizes the main findings of the paper. Include these abstracts with your discussion paper when you turn it in.

5. English:

Please be gentle with the English language. I expect your paper to be grammatical and correctly spelt.

6. Topic outline:

You must turn in an outline of your chosen topic to your T.A. by Friday, October 13. This outline could be a short paragraph or even a list of paragraph headings and must include a main reference source (e.g., a review article or book chapter).

7. Topics:

Topics for your paper may concern any area of physiology and should be specific enough that the breath is manageable in a 7 – 10 page paper without being overly broad or superficial. The topics should be discussed and MUST be approved by your T.A.

8. Completed paper:

The completed paper should be handed to your T.A. in your LAST LAB PERIOD ON, OR PRIOR TO Friday, November 17 in both paper and electronic format. Get it in on time; your T.A. has final exams to take as well! When using a computer, ALWAYS back-up the disk; electronic accidents (the new age version of “the dog ate it”) are NOT acceptable excuses for late papers.Papers handed in later than the due date, without prior authorization by Dr. Ferraro, will NOT be graded and the student will receive a zero.

9. Plagiarism.

Plagiarize (verb) “to steal and pass off as one’s own (ideas or words of another)”; Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, 1993. With reference to this course, plagiarism means copying verbatim from resources not generated by the student and submitting them as their own work and/or copying one’s own work generated for another course and used in this course. The intolerance of plagiarism includes both lab reports and the discussion paper. Lab reports handed in by two students with identical verbiage is seen as plagiarism, even if the two students are in the same lab group, as well as lab reports copied from students’ work from previous years. In the past, the occasional student has copied his/her paper or lab report from some source rather than writing an original. When that has been discovered, I have had the dreary task of punishing that student. This exercise is designed to help you develop your writing skills and explore in depth a topic that interests you. Because students bring such different skills to the course, the paper is graded leniently by the T.A., and is meant to be a teaching device rather than a testing vehicle. Please don’t cheat yourself. The first incidence of plagiarism will result in the student receiving a zero on the assignment. A second infraction will result in failure of the course.

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