Summary of Scientific Paper  or Essay (Student Choice)

Students will write three short summaries (2 to 4 pages double spaced 12 point font, 1.0 inch margins all around) of a current (not more than six years old) scientific paper or essay on topics of their choice and related to environmental sciences (pollution, fisheries, ozone depletion, global change, ice ages, .... ).  Suggested Magazines/Journals are Discovery, National Geographic, Scientific American, Nature, and Science.  Some of the articles in these Journals can be fairly technical so choose an article that is at the appropriate level for you.  You are encouraged to seek help from the instructor in understanding aspects of your article that are unclear to you.  In summarizing your article you must also use at least two other related reference, either from another article, book, or the internet.

Criteria to be used when evaluating your summary. 


  • Use an opening paragraph stating the title of the original work, the author, and his/her affiliation.  Also include give a brief description of your summary to motivate the reader to read it.


  • A paragraph or two describing the key points made in the video. When summarizing you should used the PIE process. Introduce the author’s Point, Illustrate it, and Expand upon it.

  • Include and discuss at least one Figure (graph, diagram, or picture) related to the article in your summary.  This may be a figure that you draw or a reproduction of one that is in the article or other resource.
  •   Discussing data makes writing the summary easier and scientific writing should reference relevant data whenever possible.


  • Include a closing paragraph to reiterate the important points of the article and to rate the article according to valuable insights presented, objectivity, and credibility of author and sources.

    Check your spelling and grammar carefully, and have a friend proof read your final draft.

         Don't be afraid to revise your paper several times.

         Include a complete citation of all references.

         Be clear and concise in your summary.


    *  A list of all References used (at least two different sources are required).  References must be complete. 

    For Journals or magazine articles references should include:

                      Author, publication date, Title of article, Journal name, volume, number, and page number.


    For books the reference should include:

                      the Author, Title of book, Chapter, page number(s), publisher with city, publication date


    For World Wide Web sites the reference should include:

                      Title, author, affiliation, and complete URL address.