300811 SCIENTIFIC LITERACY – SPRING 2021
Writing Task Part 2
This assessment contributes 35% to your overall mark for this unit.
Writing Task Part 2 is a 1,000 word popular-level article, on the topic that you chose in Writing Task Part 1. You will include citations and references to (exactly) six source articles. You will also write a reflection on the question “What is Science?”.
As well as your tutor, Study Smart Officers are available for free 30-minute academic writing and study skills sessions via Zoom. Click to learn more and book a session.
The Structure of Your Assessment
Submit your assessment as a PDF document that includes your name and student ID.
Structure your document as follows; an example assessment is provided on vUWS.
Section 1: Write a popular-level article on your chosen scientific topic.
In 1,000 words (plus-or-minus 25 words) write a popular-level article on your chosen scientific topic. The word limit does not include references (Section 2). Important points:
• Your article should be for non-scientists. Any adult should be able to understand your article. Don't assume that your audience already agrees with you. Avoid jargon, while retaining a credible tone. Don’t be too technical or too colloquial.
• Maintain a scientific perspective. Don’t stray into politics, philosophy, history, etc.
• Don’t include images in your article. Explain with words only.
• Give your article an appropriate title.
• Your first paragraph is very important; make it informative and engaging.
• Structure the main body of the article with a logical flow, using paragraphs to organise groups of ideas. Your article should exemplify a scientific approach to empirical evidence and reasoning.
• Anticipate questions and objections that a typical reader might have, and respond to some of them.
Section 2: Reference and cite (exactly) six source articles.
Create a properly-formatted list of academic references to your source articles, following the Harvard referencing style. Use www.citethisforme.com – a video explaining how can be found in vUWS. Create a numbered reference list, as shown in the example assessment on vUWS.
These may or may not include the three source articles that you found and referenced in Assessment 1. Make sure that your articles are from reliable sources.
You are also required to cite each of the sources in your article. When your article refers to information that you got from one of your sources, include the source’s number in square brackets e.g. , which matches the number in the reference list. All of your six sources must be cited.
Section 3: Reflect on the question “What is Science?”
In 500 words (plus-or-minus 25 words), reflect on the question “what is science?”. In lectures, tutorials and workshops, we have explored four aspects of science: it is empirical, non-linear (messy!), inductive and falsifiable. We’ve looked at the history of scientific progress, and the logic of scientific discovery.
In 500 words, you can’t give a comprehensive answer to this question. We are not asking for a summary of the lectures and tutorials. You could focus on a small number of aspects of science (perhaps just one) that you find interesting or memorable. This may come from lectures, or from your research for this assessment, or from your general knowledge of science. You could draw a lesson from a historical episode, or comment on an important aspect of the logic of science.
Do not try to write a dictionary definition or encyclopedia entry for science. Do not quote from a dictionary or encyclopedia. We want your personal reflection on this question.
Read the Marking Rubric (below) and Example Assessment (on vUWS).
Include the Assignment Cover Sheet (on vUWS) as the first page as an image (otherwise, it will trigger Turnitin).
Word limits: your article (not including references) should be between 975 and 1025 words. Your reflection should be between 475 and 525 words. If they are longer or shorter than this, you will lose marks.
No images. Text only.
Provide exactly six references, and cite all of them in your article at least once. Submit your assessment as a PDF via Turnitin on vUWS.
Turnitin similarity score should be below 15%. Check your score and revise your assessment if necessary.
Advice to Students
• Do not copy and paste from the internet. If you plagiarise, you will be caught by Turnitin, and face academic misconduct proceedings. Busyness and carelessness are not acceptable excuses.
• Successful students do the following three things exceptionally well.
o Logical flow: they plan from the top-down, starting with a general, 2-3 sentence overview of their article. This guides the planning of their paragraphs. Only then do they start to write the sentences that fill in the detail.
o Evidence: they present empirical evidence, not just conclusions. Don’t just tell us what scientists think; tell us what they did, what they observed, and why they reached their conclusions. Show, don’t tell.
o Revise: they don’t just submit their first draft. They show it to other people. And they revise on every level: the overall logic, the logical flow of the paragraphs, the evidence presented in each paragraph, and the construction of each sentence.
• As well as your tutor, Study Smart Officers are available for free 30-minute academic writing and study skills sessions via Zoom. Click to learn more and book a session.
• You are limited to six references, but you can cite them as much as you need. Cite as much information as you need from them.
• It is highly recommended that you present the same topic that you discussed in Writing Task Part 1 and your Speaking Task. However, it is not required.
• It is recommended that you use your three references from Writing Task Part 1 as some of the six references for this assessment. However, it is not required.
• If you find an article on a database, you need to reference the original article (i.e. where it was published), which is not necessarily the place you found it.
• The material for your article is expected to overlap with the script for your talk. There is no self-plagiarism issue associated with this.
Each criterion is marked out of 10; total mark will be converted to be out of 35.
Unsatisfactory (0-2) Beginning (3-5) Developing (6-8) Proficient (9-10)
A. Grammar, Layout: Correct spelling, and grammar. Layout as requested, including title of article. Contains numerous errors in grammar, spelling. Structure not as specified. No title. Several errors in grammar, spelling. Structure fails to meet most specifications. Title fails to indicate content. Minor errors in grammar, spelling. Structure mostly meets specification.
Satisfactory title. No major errors in grammar, spelling. Structure meets specification. Catchy, memorable title.
B. Scientific Content: Maintains scientific perspective, appealing to empirical evidence. Discusses objections / questions. Fails to be a scientific article, and appeal to empirical evidence. Fails to discuss potential objections / questions. Major intrusions of non- scientific considerations or topics. Minimal empirical evidence. Potential objections
/ questions are absent, unrealistic or dismissed. Some empirical evidence used. Minor intrusion of non- scientific considerations.
Potential objections / questions are somewhat addressed. Variety of adequate empirical evidence presented. Scientific perspective maintained.
Potential objections / questions are charitably presented and addressed.
C. Logical Flow and Style: Easy to read. Logical progression of sentences and paragraphs into a coherent whole. Maintains popular-level focus. Very difficult to read. Fails to introduce the topic to a general reader. No evidence of a coherent logical flow.
Inappropriately technical throughout. Difficult to read: dull, poorly written, confusing, illogical. Frequent jumps in logic and irrelevant tangents affect the flow. Mostly too technical (e.g. unexplained jargon) for a popular audience. Mostly easy to read. Good logical flow, though occasional break may lose the reader.
Occasional unexplained technical language. Mostly succeeds in explaining topic to a popular audience. Enjoyable to read. Clear logical flow from empirical evidence to conclusions. No unnecessary / unexplained jargon. Lucid and entertaining explanation of the topic to a popular audience.
D. References and Citations: Correctly references and cites exactly six reliable sources. Fails to reference and cite sources. Major errors in referencing. Many major claims in article not supported by citations. Unreliable source articles. Minor errors in referencing. Most major claims in article supported by citations. Mostly reputable choices of sources. No errors in referencing. All major claims in article supported by citations.
Excellent choices of sources.
E. Reflection: Honest, informed and critical engagement with the question “What is science?” (Does not need to be comprehensive.) No reflection, or irrelevant reflection. Reflection mostly fails to engage with a realistic view of science: too shallow, too idealized or too cynical. Some engagement with a realistic historical and/or logical perspective on science, with some evidence of critical reflection. Honest, informed and critical engagement with a realistic historical and/or logical perspective on science.
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