Karen Bernd's Article Grading Rubrics for Bio111
(Adapted from rubric developed ’07 by A.M.Campbell)

Articles: For the first 2 assignments each group will prepare and turn in a single written assignment for the group. The sections written vary with the unit. Be sure to consult the syllabus for specific assignments. The final, full article is to be written individually. See ARTICLE RUBRIC laying out the grading expectations. Refer to Pechenik for additional aid while preparing your article sections.

A note on references Written reports involve working in groups. Be certain that you understand the rules and boundaries of group work and source citation. If you have any questions ASK BEFORE HANDING ANYTHING IN since plagiarism is wrong and has severe consequences.  The Davidson College Biology Department’s statement on plagiarism is found at: http://www.bio.davidson.edu/dept/plagiarism.html and is the guide for this course. You are responsible for reading and following the guide. The course follows the citation style seen in the journal Cell. You must follow both the 'in text' and bibliographic citation style described here http://www.cell.com/authors . IF IMAGES ARE USED they must be cited in the figure legend (image adapted from (Author, year) or image from <URL>) AND a citation for that source must appear in the reference section. Using other people's images/drawings without citing them is plagiarism. Don't do it.

Bibliographic Information taken from The Cell Journal Website (http://www.cell.com/authors ) with comments added in green NOTE nothing is indented and pages of entire article are given not just the page where the information was. Look at a print copy (Library basement stacks or BioCenter) to see the rules in action. Being able to follow formatting instructions is a basic skill-- follow the directions. Citation programs like RefWorks are a great help but it is still up to you to proofread your work and make sure it follows formatting rules

References should include only articles that are published or in press. Unpublished data, submitted manuscripts, abstracts, and personal communications should be cited within the text only. Personal communication should be documented by a letter of permission. Submitted articles should be cited as unpublished data, data not shown, or personal communication. Note: "et al." should only be used after 10 authors. Please use the following style for references:

Sondheimer, N., and Lindquist, S. (2000). Rnq1: an epigenetic modifier of protein function in yeast. Mol. Cell 5, 163-172. This is the style for an article in a journal whether you accessed it as a pdf file online or held the paper in your hands. Note where initials or abbreviations are used. If this extended to 2 lines neither line would be indented.

King, S.M. (2003). Dynein motors: Structure, mechanochemistry and regulation. In Molecular Motors, M. Schliwa, ed. (Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH), pp. 45–78. This is the style for an article found within a larger book where different people wrote different chapters and the listed editors compiled and have their names on the cover.

Cowan, W.M., Jessell, T.M., and Zipursky, S.L. (1997). Molecular and Cellular Approaches to Neural Development (New York: Oxford University Press). This is the style for an entire book where the names on the cover wrote the whole thing (ex. your Sadava et al. textbook)

Bibliographic information taken from Online Website ( http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/online/cite8.html ) with comments added in green Note that still nothing is indented. An 'author' might be an organization or a company-- it is the group putting the information out there. Date of internet publication might require looking at additional pages within the website. The UrL must go directly to the place where the incformation is rather than an 'intro page' with many links

Author's name (last name, first and any middle initials). Date of Internet publication. Document title. <URL> or other retrieval information. Date of access.
ONLY use this style for government, company and laboratory website that cannot be found in paper form, are not peer reviewed. Do Not use this style to refer to scientific articles that you just chose to access online (ie. pdf from journal that is peer reviewed and may also exist in paper format) The key difference is the peer review aspect. If you are not sure-- ask before turning in.

Do not use Wikipedia as a source-- it is considered to be more like a dictionary. You might start there to look up an unfamiliar word but you would not go to get the meat of the research.
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Lab Article Grading Rubric : Some assignments do not include all sections. Refer to syllabus to know what you are assigned.
Note that average means just that -- the middle range equaling ~5-7 of 10 points. Shoot for Excellent!

Category Excellent Average Poor
Grammar, spelling and style (5pt) Writing is appropriate style for the section. Grammar and spelling are correct. Writing attempts but falls short of the directions for the sections' styles. A majority of the grammar and spelling are correct. Writing does not follow the directions for the sections' styles. Grammar and spelling support a lack of proofreading.

Title/names/pledge (5 pts)

Title is concise and informative. Names are spelled correctly and everyone who worked on the project is included. It is pledged.

Title is overly wordy or too vague. Some names missing or incorrectly spelled. It is pledged.

Cannot determine the main point of content from the title. Title is more cute than content. No names; no pledge.

Abstract (10 pts)

The research question or problem is well-defined and connected to prior knowledge in the chosen area of study. Methods are described adequately and the conclusions are clear and succinct. Follows the guideline questions provided in the lab manual.

The question or problem is defined adequately, but may lack a clear rationale or purpose that stems from prior knowledge. Methods are alluded to. Results are enumerated pt by point rather than stating trends. The conclusions are not well stated.

The study is poorly summarized and lacks overlying question; there may be little or no stated connection  to prior knowledge. Methods and conclusions are unclear or not stated.

NOTE: The title and author list only appear once in an article, not above the abstract and then again in the abstrace.
Abstract, Intro and Discussion draw on Connections within course (10 pts) Author shows the connection between the lab material to the lecture so that the relationships are clear and enlightening. Some attempts are made to connect lecture and lab material, but obvious ones are missing or are unclear. No connection between lab and lecture material included or connections that are made are incorrect.

Introduction (10 pts)

The research question or problem is well-defined, connected to a ‘big picture’/field or research area and there is a clear overview of current understanding in the field. Connection between experiment and lecture material is clear

The question or problem is defined, but lacks connection with a larger field or issue or there is little connection to knowledge in the field as a whole. Connection between the experiment and lecture is present but vague. May include factual errors in the background material.

Overlying question or problem is not evident. The introduction focuses on details of experiment rather than informing the audience what the field is, why it is interesting and how the experiment at hand fits into investigations that have already been conducted. No connection is made to lecture material. Factual errors are present.

Experimental Procedure (10 pts)

Summarizes major steps and key variations from standard lab protocol in lab manual. More detail is included than an oral presentation would include. Details explaining experimental design or reasoning are not included. Does not include list of materials. Uses appropriate units for substances, reporting final concentrations (not volumes).

Summarizes some steps and variations from the protocol given in lab manual. Some details provided to understand variables and experimental design. Contains details from lab manual that are not necessary (ex. where stocks are found in the lab)

Restates lab manual focusing on details rather than major steps and variations that make your experiment unique.  Not enough explanation is provided for the audience to understand experimental design. Contains list of common scientific tools such as pipetmen or microfuge tubes. Spends time explaining things such as what labels were put on tubes or which rows of microtiter plate were used.

Results  (15 pts)

The data are analyzed and expressed in an accurate way. Statistical analysis of data is present. The question(s) and logic behind progression of experiments are stated (To examine___, ___ was done). All figures are referred to in the text. Text summarizes trends of figures. The text can stand alone without the figures.

Most data are analyzed thoroughly and presented accurately, but with minor flaws. There may be no evident use of statistical analysis. The trends of some figures are not included. The rationale and logic connecting the experiments to the overall question is not clear.

Raw data is presented instead of analyzed results, analysis and presentation may be inaccurate or incomplete. Data trends not stated, text only states ‘see figure X’. Text does not refer to every figure. The rationale and logic connecting the experiments to the overall question is incorrect or absent. Section includes discussion of what the data means rather than a description of what was seen.

Figures and Tables (15 pts)  (links with general suggestions and considerations for colorblind readers

The figures and/or tables are appropriately chosen and well-organized; data trends are illuminated.  Figure labels are informative and complete. Titles resemble headlines that present the ‘message’ of the figure. Figure legend is appropriately placed and includes overview of the experiment from which the data came, including sample size, number of replicates, and any statistical analyses performed. The figures can stand alone without the text.

General trends in the data are readily seen from the figures and tables. Tables and figures are included that provide redundant information (double dipping). Figure labels lack clarity and are incomplete. Titles restate axes rather than informing audience and are not in the correct location. Figure legend does not include experimental overview.

 Data may be represented inaccurately or in an inappropriate format.  Raw, unanalyzed data is presented. Figure labels are missing or incorrect. Figures need text to explain the trends and process, they cannot stand alone. One or more figures not mentioned in text.

Discussion  (15 pts)

 Ties results to background and ‘big picture’. Conclusions are supported by the data (and by referring in the text to the data presented in results).

Conclusions are supported by the data, but connections with broader goals and topic are not directly made.

Conclusions are not supported by the data. Focus on minutiae rather than how the trends fit with current findings/theories in the field.

References (5pt)

Adequate citation to cover topic and support claims. Correct format (see 'a note on references' above) so that references look like reference section for an article in the scientific journal 'Cell'.  All images that were not created by the authors are properly cited.

Incomplete citation and irregular format. (see 'a note on references' above)

Wrong format for citations. (see 'a note on references' above)