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Critical Analysis of Scientific Papers

BLG143 Fall 2018

Student Name _____________________________

Student Number _____________________________

Lab Section Number _____________________________

Teaching Assistant _____________________________

SCORE (out of 50; for TA to complete) __________

BLG143: Laboratory Writing Assignment

Fall, 2018

By identifying yourself on this document that you submit for grading in the laboratory portion of BLG143, you
declare that these documents are entirely your own work, and that no part of them is:

 Copied by manual or electronic means from any work produced by any other person(s), present or past,
including tutors or tutoring services;
 Based on work that you did not complete.
 Produced by several students working as a team (this includes one person who provided any portion of an
assignment to another student or students)
 Copied from any other source including textbooks and websites unless citations are properly acknowledged
and referenced.
 Modified to contain falsified data or results.

You understand that submitting work that is not entirely your own work, or distributing work to other students, is
considered to be an act of Academic Misconduct, and is subject to penalty as described by Senate Policy 60,
Academic Misconduct.

NAME _________________________________________

SIGNATURE _________________________________________ DATE ________________

1. We were given the paper’s citation and asked to find the paper instead of being given a
copy of the paper because it is good practice to properly look for cited academic material
ourselves instead of being handed it.
2. The legal reason why the paper was not posted to D2L but instead asked to go through
the Ryerson Library site because under section 2.8 of Senate Policy 60: Academic
integrity of Ryerson university, posting is would be the unauthorized use and distribution
of intellectual property.
3. Plagiarism, as defined by Ryerson, has multiple elements to its’ definition, but a
straightforward definition would be to pass off work, not limited academically, as your
own without proper citation of the work.
4. Possible penalties for plagiarism include a Disciplinary Notation (DN) placed on one’s
academic record, grade of “zero” on that work, a grade of “F” for the course, temporary
or permanent removal in a co-op placement/internship, disciplinary suspension,
disciplinary withdrawal, expulsion, and/or revocation of a degree, diploma or certificate.
1. The purpose of the abstract is to give a short preview of what the paper is about.
2. The abstract conveys some information about the paper’s significance and the general
results of the research. It also provides insight on history and facts that helped build onto
the main topic of the paper.
3. The basic experimental methods used in this paper consisted of an apparatus attached to a
striped drum that rotated around the Daphnia. This allows quantifiable results of the
swimming behavior of Daphnia.
4. The most important results generalized the optometer response of Daphnia into two
different types: vison could be used to avoid predators, while in some situations, could
not see own of their own species or food particles a few millimeters away from them.
5. The authors do not cite any other studies in the abstract.
6. Based on the answer of question 5, it is assumed that it is not normal practice to cite other
works in the abstract.
7. The approximate length of an abstract is one paragraph, or 10 sentences.
1. The purpose of the literature review in the Introduction is to summarize relevant
scholarly articles or books written by peers or fellow scientists in the past that help
provide some sort of critical evaluation to the paper.
2. The general research questions that this study seeks to answer are if free-swimming
Daphnia show behavior changes in response to motion and visual acuity.
3. The ecological significance of the question is to examine how Daphnia might respond to
light. Answering this question might help us understand how Daphnia spontaneously
behaves in the presence of predators or how they respond to predation.
4. Some reasons why we might be interested in better understanding behavior in Daphnia
are how they react in an environment with predators and to address the functional
capabilities of organs or organ systems particularly during ecological consequences.
Their ecological significance comes from a generalized fact about Daphnia in their place
at the food chain. They are an important herbivore that many animals depend on to
survive, causing them to be usable in both field and laboratory experiments.
5. Daphnia are important models in evolutionary biology because they are cyclic
parthenogens, which simplifies the guaranteed genetic and environmental effects in
diverse populations of Daphnia.
6. In the literature review, facts seem to have citations following them and the assumptions
and questions that the researchers from the paper asks seem to not have assumptions.
As global trade and travel expands, the risk of spreading potentially invasive species
increases (Daehler, 1998). Aquatic and semi-aquatic plants have a higher probability of
becoming invasive than do species from terrestrial plant families, and thus forming a
significant proportion of potential invasive species (Andreu and Vila, 2010). Globally,
the costs resulting from the environmental, social, health and economic impacts of
invasive aquatic platsn (IAPs) are significant; for example, the United sStates has
invested in excess of US$800 million annually to control Myriophyllum spicatum L.,
Lythrum salicaria L. and Trapa natans (L Pimentel et al., 2005).
Materials and Methods
1. The purpose of the Materials and Methods section is to provide a detailed description of
all the apparatus and a procedure of how the experiment was performed.
2. If one was familiar with this area of research, one should be able to pick up this paper and
replicate the experiment.
3. The materials are not presented separately as a list of items and chemicals to be used.
4. The methods are not presented as a list of steps.
5. I would describe the presentation of the materials and methods as not lists, but in detailed
paragraphs instead.
6. There are not any experimental results given in the Materials and Methods section.
7. There is no literature review given in the Materials and Methods section.
1. The purpose of the Results section is to provide all the experimental results. Information
included are raw data and descriptive text.
2. Data are presented in the form of tables and graphs.
3. I see the same data in both tables and figures.
4. It is not sufficient to just present all results in either Tables or Figures. Descriptive text is
needed as well.
5. The purpose of the descriptive text in this section are to provide details about the tables
and graphs, as well as why the researchers or authors considered a part of the graph a
certain way.
6. There are methodological statements in this section.
7. Yes, the width of the stripes did affect compass reaction by Daphnia. Statistical results
include compass reaction (p = 0.001) and total OMR score (p = 0.016). In transformed
compass reaction include (df = 5, 122; F = 6.675; p = 0.001)
8. Speed at which the drum turned did not affect the optometer response behavior by
1. The purpose of the discussion section is to analyze the data and graphs computed by the
researchers. Any significances, trends and discrepancies are explained. There were
through explanations on data and signs of error. How the paper is significant in the grand
scheme of things and improvements to future experiments are also there.
2. The purpose of discussing and citing other studies in the Discussion section are to
corroborate information and certain trends. They are to check if previous or similar
experiments produced similar data.
3. The rotation response seems to be more strongly affected than the swimming response.
4. I expect a Daphnia to respond to visual that might be interpreted as a predator to respond.
It is expected that the Daphnia will change direction and turn more strongly than swim
directly away.
1. The purpose of this section to properly give credit to the scientists/researchers whose
resources and intellectual property were used in the making of this paper from the
2. The correct order of information of a reference is: authors, date, article title, journal title,
volume number and page number
3. In authors listed within a single reference, they are not arranged alphabetically. What
determines the sequence of the author’s name is simply identically reference how the
authors names are seen in the original article or journal.
4. In the complete list of references, the references are arranged alphabetically. The alphabet
is what determines what paper comes first in the list.