SYLLABUS CHMY302E Fall 2009
Chemical Literature & Scientific Writing 2:10 - 3:00 pm Room: C102
Instructors Sandy Ross, C013 lab and office, 243-6026, email@example.com
Assistant instructor, Laurie Franklin, C013 lab, 243-4156, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours Sandy Ross, by appointment
Laurie Franklin T 11:10 – 12 noon, C013 or by appointment
Each student will meet with the instructors for two private conferences: the first, during office
hours or by appointment between October 8 and 16; and the second, during scheduled
class time or by appointment between December 1 and 7. We invite students who may have
a physical or learning disability to meet with us at the start of the semester to discuss
? “The ACS Style Guide, Effective Communication of Scientific Information, 3rd edition”, Anne M. Coghill and Lorrin R. Garson, Editors
? “Great Traditions in Ethics, 12th edition”, Theodore C. Denise, Nicholas P. White, and
Sheldon P. Peterfreund
Selected lecture notes will be posted on Blackboard, and other materials will be handed out
? We will work as a team to practice the skills of organization, development, language use,
and style that are required for high-quality scientific writing. ? You will read scientific writing materials of excellent quality and will learn to evaluate the
organization, development and mechanics of scientific writing. ? You will learn to edit, to use library and Internet resources with emphasis on those
important to chemists and biochemists, and to assemble information in a variety of
? Guest professionals from academia and industry will present topics in environmental
ethics, patents, and résumé writing.
? For your final, you will assemble a technical portfolio that allows you to demonstrate
your scientific writing skills to prospective employers.
? We will examine three Western traditions of ethics (virtue ethics, deontological ethics,
and utilitarianism), environmental ethics, and ethical issues in science that relate to
scientific writing: integrity of laboratory notebooks, falsification of results, plagiarism,
proper attribution of authorship, peer review, public trust in scientific endeavor,
intellectual property (patents, copyrights) and fostering scientific discourse.
You will submit six major writing assignments. For each assignment, you are required
both to submit a draft for peer review and be a peer reviewer. Second, you are required
to submit a revised draft for instructor review. Third, you will rewrite instructor drafts for
assignments 3 and 5 and resubmit them as part of your technical portfolio. The syllabus
lists the major assignment due dates in the columns “Out” and “In”. Assignment
descriptions and materials will be handed out in class and will be available on
Reading good scientific writing is critical to developing your professional writing skills.
We will assign readings in the textbook and from other sources to complement the
syllabus topics and assignments. We expect the assigned readings to be read before
the class lecture for which they have been assigned.
1. Edit a text; justify your editing.
2. Read a chemistry research paper; write a summary and a new abstract.
3. Read an example of a description of a scientific principle, and write your own.
4. Read several types of technical descriptions of laboratory procedures, and write a
how-to manual for a laboratory procedure with which you are familiar.
5. Read about three foundational traditions of Western Ethical Thought and respond to
quizzes about these traditions.
6. Write a scientific persuasion article using library and Internet resources and applying
ethical considerations of scientific practice to your argument.
7. Write a résumé and a cover letter for two different job descriptions.
ABBREVIATIONS FOR OUT-OF-CLASS ASSIGNMENT (see schedule)
Assignment # Peer Review Instructor Instructor Review Draft returned with
Draft Review Draft editorial comments
A# PR# ID# ID#e
1. Peer review of six writing assignments
2. In-class reading, discussion and related exercises
3. Abstract-writing exercise
4. Composition and word-use exercises
Submit all assignments (peer review drafts and instructor review drafts) double-spaced, in
Times New Roman 12-point font or Arial 11-point font, and with one-inch margins. Submit
hard copy in class on the due date. Simultaneously, submit an electronic copy through
Blackboard, using the naming convention specified in the assignment description. Keep a
complete electronic record of every original draft, and a paper copy of every peer-
reviewed and instructor-reviewed draft. All of these will be required for your final portfolio. To guard against loss, back up your electronic record with at least one extra
You will assemble a technical portfolio consisting of your written work for the semester,
including initial, intermediate and final drafts. The portfolio will be due on December 14 at
1:10 pm. A complete description of the portfolio specifications will be handed out in class at
the start of the semester and will be posted on Backboard.
We strongly urge you to make every effort to attend classes because we design lectures, in-
class exercises, discussions and guest lectures to enhance your skills. However, if
interviews, school-related travel, or illness cause you to miss a class, please contact Sandy
or Laurie in advance of the absence (Interviews, travel) or as soon as possible (illness) to
find out if a make-up is possible.
We will base grades on (1) assignments [35%] and the technical portfolio [45%], with
emphasis placed on completeness of assignments and demonstrated effort to improve
scientific writing skills and (2) peer review, in-class exercises, and discussion [20%].
All students must practice academic honesty. Academic misconduct is subject to an
academic penalty by a course instructor and/or disciplinary sanction by the University.
Please read the Student Conduct Code. The code is available at
Please check Blackboard regularly for updates and additions to the syllabus.
Week Date Topic Preparation Out In
Introduction to course aims and M Aug 31 A1 assignment 1
Visit the CHMY302E
Board and introduce
yourself (requires SCAUID 1 and password). Chap 3: p W Sept 2 Basics of editing / Editing rubric
31 middle; p 32, top;
Appendix 3.1 pp 36 –39,
Chap 4: Writing Style and
PR1/ID1 F Sept 4 Peer review assignment 1
M Sept 7 Labor Day Holiday
Journal article, ”A Scientific Paper: Introduction to bioluminescent assay for assignment 2 and to parts of a journal W Sept 9 A2 monoamine oxidase” and article Chapter 2: Scientific Papers 2 Scientific Paper: The parts of a journal
article, continued; in-class exercise in Strunk and White handout F Sept 11 abstract writing; discussion and in-#1, Chapters 9 and 10, ID1e class exercises about organization, minor assignment
development and mechanics
M Sept 14 Scientific Publishing TBA
3 Peer review assignment 2 W Sept 16 PR2
Description of a principle: Introduction F Sept 18 TBA A3 to assignment 3 and example
“Great Traditions in Ethics”
Chapter 3 – Virtue Ethics M Sept 21 ID2 Western traditions in ethics I
Development, Organization and 4 W Sept 23 Strunk and White #2 Mechanics
F Sept 25 Blackboard quiz: Aristotle ID2e PR3 Peer review assignment 3
u/workbooks/instruct.html, Technical description of a procedure:
Introduction to assignment 4 and M Sept 28 A4 On Blackboard, “Reading
example Materials”, read technical
5 Technical description continued and Revisit Strunk & White more issues in organization, W Sept 30 ID3 Chapters 9 and 10 development and mechanics
“Great Traditions in Ethics” Western traditions in ethics II Chapter 12 – Deontological F Oct 2
M Oct 5 Peer review assignment 4 Blackboard quiz: Kant PR4
“Great Traditions in Ethics”
Chapter 13 – Utilitarian W Oct 7 Western traditions in ethics III ID3e 6 Ethics (Mill)
Scientific persuasion: Introduction to F Oct 9 Blackboard quiz: Mill A5 ID4 assignment 5
The genetically modified M Oct 12 Environmental ethics organism controversy
Library Resources at Mansfield Library
7 Student Learning Center (MLSLC) with W Oct 14
References, footnotes, and biblio- In class: Library search F Oct 16 graphies at MLSLC with B. Brown exercise
Independent library research session In class: Library search M Oct 19 to choose assignment 5 topic exercise
MLSLC: Independent research to W Oct 21 choose assignment 5 topic
8 Chapter 1: Ethics in
Scientific Communication; Ethics in Scientific Communication: A5 Case studies and analysis in terms of F Oct 23 ID4e On Blackboard, “Reading Topic Western ethical traditions Materials”, read articles
Scientific Fraud #1 and #2 M Oct 26 Numbers, mathematics, units, 9 W Oct 28 Chapters 11, 13, 14 and 15 conventions in chemistry, graphics F Oct 30
Research for assignment 5 at MLSLC M Nov 2
10 Research for assignment 5 at MLSLC W Nov 4
Research for assignment 5 at MLSLC F Nov 6
In class: Library search Beilstein & Chem Abstracts at MLSLC M Nov 9 exercise 11 W Nov 11 Veterans Day Holiday
Peer review assignment 5 F Nov13 A6 PR5 Résumés and cover letter workshop:
Cindy Boies, Career Counselor, M Nov 16 Resource Library at Lommasson 154
12 Writing resumes and cover letters: W Nov 18 TBA ID5 Introduction to assignment 6
Resumes and cover letters, continued F Nov 20 TBA Employment portfolio workshop: Cindy
Boies, Career Counselor, Resource M Nov 23 Library at Lommasson 154 13
W Nov 25 Thanksgiving Holiday F Nov 27
Peer review assignment 6 M Nov 30 ID5e PR6 Intellectual property, patents, 14 copyrights, and academia: Claudia W Dec 2 TBA ID6 Denker, The UM Office of Legal
Intellectual property, continued: F Dec 4 TBA Claudia Denker
Assignment 5 PowerPoint M Dec 6 presentations
Assignment 5 PowerPoint ID6e 15 W Dec 8 presentations
Assignment 5 PowerPoint F Dec 10 presentations
FINAL: Portfolio due 1:10 PM 16 M Dec 14 Pizza Party and PowerPoint Presentations