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3. Types of Scientific Publications

Scientific literature comprises scientific publications that report original empirical and theoretical work in the natural and social sciences, and within a scientific field is often abbreviated as the literature. Academic publishing is the process of placing the results of one’s research into the literature. Scientific research on original work initially published in scientific journals is called primary literature. Patents and technical reports, for minor research results and engineering and design work (including computer software) can also be considered primary literature. Secondary sources include articles in review journals (which provide a synthesis of research articles on a topic to highlight advances and new lines of research), and books for large projects, broad arguments, or compilations of articles. Tertiary sources might include encyclopedias and similar works intended for broad public consumption.

Types of scientific publications

Scientific literature can include the following kinds of publications:

• scientific articles published in scientific journals;

• patents specialized for science and technology (for example, biological patents and chemical patents);

• books wholly written by one or a small number of coauthors;

• books, where each chapter is the responsibility of a differ rent author or set of authors, though the editor may take some responsibility for ensuring consistency of style and content;

• presentations at academic conferences, especially those organized by learned societies;

• government reports such as a forensic investigation conducted by a government agency such as the NTSB;

• scientific publications on the World Wide Web;

• books, technical reports, pamphlets, and working papers issued by individual researchers or research organizations on

their own initiative; these are sometimes organized into a series.

The significance of these different components of the lite- rature varies between disciplines and has changed over time. As of 2009, peer-reviewed journal articles remain the predominant publication type, and have the highest prestige.

However, journals vary enormously in their prestige and importance, and the value of a published article depends on the journal. The significance of books, also called research monographs depends on the subject. Generally books published by university presses are usually considered more prestigious than those published by commercial presses. The status of working papers and conference proceedings depends on the discipline; they are typically more important in the applied sciences. The value of publication as a preprint or scientific report on the web has in the past been low, but in some subjects, such as mathematics or high energy physics, it is now an accepted alternative. For further information about these formats, see the corresponding article.

Preparation of an article

The actual day-to-day records of scientific information are kept in research notebooks or logbooks. These are usually kept indefinitely as the basic evidence of the work, and are often kept in duplicate, signed, notarized, and archived.

The purpose is to preserve the evidence for scientific priority, and in particular for priority for obtaining patents. They have also been used in scientific disputes. Since the availability of computers, the notebooks in some data-intensive fields have been kept as database records, and appropriate software is commercially available. The work on a project is typically published as one or more technical reports, or articles. In some fields both are used, with preliminary reports, working papers, or preprints followed by a formal article. Articles are usually prepared at the end of a project, or at the end of components of a particularly large one.


Clear communication and impact factor

Never has the game of scientific publishing been more competitive. Often, scientific advancement depends upon publishing in high-impact journals, most of which are English- language journals. Scientists with poor English writing skills are at a disadvantage when trying to publish in these journals, regardless of the quality of the scientific study itself. Yet many international universities require publication in these high- impact journals by both their students and faculty. Part of the difficulty in publishing is attributable to a known editorial bias against studies produced in the developing world, resul- ting in published research that is skewed towards health issues specific to the developed world. One way to balance the international distribution of published research, is for inter- national scientists to increase their publication rate in English- language, high-impact journals.

Scientific article

A scientific article has a standardized structure, which varies only slightly in different subjects. Ultimately, it is not the format that is important, but what lies behind it - the content. However, several key formating requirements need to be met:

1. The title should be concise and indicate the contents of the article.

2. The names and affiliation of all authors are given. In the wake of some scientific misconduct cases, publishers often require that all co-authors know and agree on the content of the article.

3. The first part is normally an abstract; this is a one-paragraphy summary of the work, and is intended to serve as a guide for determining if the articles are pertinent, and to furnish subject metadata for indexing services.

4. The format should be archival, in the sense that libraries should be able to store and catalogue the documents and scientists years later should be able to recover any document in


order to study and assess it, and there should be an established way of citing the document so that formal reference can be made to them in future scientific publication. The lack of an established archival system is one of the hurdles that World Wide Web based scientific publication has had to overcome. Reliable repositories such as arXiv or PubMed Central have been instituted, and progress is now being made on their interoperability and permanence.

5. The content should be presented in the context of previous scientific investigations, by citation of relevant documents in the existing literature, usually in a section called an “Introduction”.

6. Empirical techniques, laid out in a section usually called “Materials and Methods”, should be described in such a way that a subsequent scientist, with appropriate knowledge of and experience in the relevant field, should be able to repeat the observations and know whether he or she has obtained the same result. This naturally varies between subjects, and obviously does not apply to mathematics and related subjects.

7. Similarly, the results of the investigation, in a section usually called “Results”, data should be presented in tabular or graphic form (image, chart, schematic, diagram or drawing). These figures should be accompanied by a caption and referenced in the text of the article.

8. Interpretation of the meaning of the results is usually addressed in a “Discussion” or “Conclusion” section. The con- clusions drawn should be based on previous literature and/or new empirical results, in such a way that any reader with knowledge of the field can follow the argument and confirm that the conclusions are sound. That is, acceptance of the conclusions must not depend on personal authority, rhetorical skill, or faith.

9. Finally, a “References” or “Literature Cited” section lists the sources cited by the authors in the format required by the journal.


4.Understanding and Using the Scientific Method

At this point you should have a good idea of the question you want to ask. Now, you must use the Scientific Method to design an experiment that can answer the question. If your experiment isn’t designed well, you may not get the correct answer, or may not even get any definitive answer at all. In this section we’re going to look at the method you should use to design your research. This method is the most important part of science-in- fact, it’s called the “Scientific Method”. The Scientific Method is a way to make sure that your experiment can give a good answer to your specific question.

The Scientific Method is a logical and rational order of steps by which scientists come to conclusions about the world around them.

The Scientific Method helps to organize thoughts and procedures so that scientists can be confident in the answers they find. Scientists use observations, hypotheses, and deductions to make these conclusions, just like you will use the Scientific Method in your science fair project. You will think through the various possibilities using the Scientific Method to eventually come to an answer to your original question.

The steps of the Scientific Method are:

• Observation/Research

• Hypothesis

• Prediction

• Experiment

• Conclusion

The observation is done first so that you know how you want to go about your research. The hypothesis is the answer you think you’ll find. The prediction is your specific belief about the scientific idea: If my hypothesis is true, then I

predict we will discover........... The experiment is the tool that you

invent to answer the question, and the conclusion is the answer that the experiment gives. Don’t worry, it isn’t that compli- cated. Let’s look at each one of these points individually so that you can understand the tools that scientists use when doing their own science projects and use them for your project.



This step could also be called “research”. It is the first stage in understanding the problem you have chosen. After you decide on your area of science and the specific question you want to ask, you will need to research everything that you can find about the problem. You can collect information on your science topic from your own experiences, books, the internet, or even smaller “unofficial” experiments. This initial research should play a big part in the science idea that you finally choose. Let’s take the example of the tomatoes in the garden. You like to garden, and notice that some tomatoes are bigger than others and wonder why. Because of this personal experience and an interest in the problem, you decide to learn more about what makes plants grow.

For this stage of the Scientific Method, it’s important to use as many sources as you can find. The more information you have on your science fair project topic, the better the design of your experiment is going to be, and the better your science fair project is going to be overall. Also try to get information from your teachers or librarians, or professionals who know something about your science fair topic. They can help to guide you to a solid experimental setup.


The next stage of the Scientific Method is known as the “hypothesis”. This word basically means “a possible solution to a problem, based on knowledge and research”. The hypothesis is a simple statement that defines what you think the outcome of your experiment will be. All of the first stage of the Scientific Method — the observation, or research stage — is designed to help you express a problem in a single question (“Does the amount of sunlight in a garden affect tomato size?») and propose an answer to the question based on what you know. The experiment that you will design is done to test the hypothesis.

Using the example of the tomato experiment, here is an example of a hypothesis:



TOPIC: “Does the amount of sunlight a tomato plant receives affect the size of the tomatoes”?

HYPOTHESIS: “I believe that the more sunlight a tomato plant receives, the larger its tomatoes will grow. This hypothesis is based on:

(1) Tomato plants need sunshine to make food through photosynthesis, and logically, more sun means more food, and;

(2) Through informal, exploratory observations of plants in a garden, those with more sunlight appear to grow bigger.


The hypothesis is your general statement of how you think the scientific phenomenon in question works. Your prediction lets you get specific — how will you demonstrate that you hypothesis is true? The experiment that you will design is done to test the prediction.

An important thing to remember during this stage of the scientific method is that once you develop a hypothesis and a prediction, you shouldn’t change it, even if the results of your experiment show that you were wrong. An incorrect prediction doesn’t mean that you “failed”. It just means that the experiment brought some new facts to light that maybe you hadn’t thought about before. The judges at your science fair will not take points off simply because your results don’t match up with your hypothesis.

Continuing our tomato plant example, a good prediction would be: Increasing the amount of sunlight tomato plants in my experiment receive will cause an increase in their size com- pared to identical plants that received the same care but less light.


This is the part of the scientific method that tests your hypothesis. An experiment is a tool that you design to find out if your ideas about your topic are right or wrong. It is absolutely necessary to design a science fair experiment that will accurately test your hypothesis. The experiment is the


most important part of the scientific method. It’s the logical process that lets scientists learn about the world. In the next section, we’ll discuss the ways that you can go about designing a science fair experiment idea.


The final step in the scientific method is the conclusion. This is a summary of the experiment’s results, and how those results match up to your hypothesis.

You have two options for your conclusions: based on your results, either you can reject the hypothesis, or you can not reject the hypothesis. This is an important point. You can not PROVE the hypothesis with a single experiment, because there is a chance that you made an error somewhere along the way. What you can say is that your results SUPPORT the original hypothesis.

If your original hypothesis didn’t match up with the final results of your experiment, don’t change the hypothesis. Instead, try to explain what might have been wrong with your original hypothesis. What information did you not have originally that caused you to be wrong in your prediction? What are the reasons that the hypothesis and experimental results didn’t match up?

Remember, a science fair experiment isn’t a failure if it proves your hypothesis wrong or if your prediction isn’t accurate. No one will take points off for that. A science fair experiment is only a failure if its design is flawed. A flawed experiment is one that (1) doesn’t keep its variables under control, and (2) doesn’t sufficiently answer the question that you asked of it.

5. Scientific Journal

In academic publishing, a scientific journal is a periodical publication intended to further the progress of science, usually by reporting new research. Most journals are highly specialized, although some of the oldest journals such as

Nature publish articles and scientific papers across a wide range of scientific fields. Scientific journals contain articles that have been peer reviewed, in an attempt to ensure that articles meet the journal’s standards of quality, and scientific validity. Although scientific journals are superficially similar to professional magazines, they are actually quite different. Issues of a scientific journal are rarely read casually, as one would read a magazine. The publication of the results of research is an essential part of the scientific method. If they are describing experiments or calculations, they must supply enough details that an independent researcher could repeat the experiment or calculation to verify the results. Each such journal article becomes part of the permanent scientific record.

The history of scientific journals dates from 1665, when the French Journal des s3avans and the English Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society first began systematically publishing research results. Over a thousand, mostly ephemeral, were founded in the 18th century, and the number has increased rapidly after that.

(D. A. Kronick, “History of Scientific and Technical Periodicals”, 2nd ed. Scarecrow,


These articles can be used in research and graduate education. Some classes are partially devoted to the explication of classic articles, and seminar classes can consist of the presentation by each student of a classic or current paper. In a scientific research group or academic department it is usual for the content of current scientific journals to be discussed in journal clubs.

The standards that a journal uses to determine publication can vary widely. Some journals, such as Nature, Science, PNAS or Physical Review Letters, have a reputation of publishing articles which mark a fundamental breakthrough in their respective fields. In many fields, an informal hierarchy of scientific journals exists; the most prestigious journal in a field tends to be the most selective in terms of the articles it will select for publication. It is also common for journals to have a regional focus, specializing in publishing papers from a particular country or other geographic region, like African Invertebrates.

Articles tend to be highly technical, representing the latest theoretical research and experimental results in the field of science covered by the journal.

They are often incomprehensible to anyone except for researchers in the field and advanced students. In some subjects this is inevitable given the nature of the content.

Types of articles

There are several types of journal articles; the exact ter- minology and definitions vary by field and specific journal, but often include:

• Letters (also called communications, and not to be confused with letters to the editor) are short descriptions of important current research findings which are usually fast- tracked for immediate publication because they are considered urgent.

• Research notes are short descriptions of current re- search findings which are considered less urgent or important than Letters.

• Articles are usually between five and twenty pages and are a complete descriptions of current original research fin- ding, but there are considerable variations between scientific fields and journals: 80-page articles are not rare in mathematics or theoretical computer science.

• Supplemental articles contain a large volume of tabular data that is the result of current research and may be dozens or



hundreds of pages with mostly numerical data. Some journals now only publish this data electronically on the internet.

• Review articles do not cover original research but rather accumulate the results of many different articles on a particular topic into a coherent narrative about the state of the art in that field. Examples of reviews include the “Nature Reviews” series of journals and the “Trends in” series, which invite experts to write on their specialization and then have the article peer-reviewed before accepting the article for publication. Other journals, such as the Current Opinion series, are less rigorous in peer-reviewing each article and instead rely on the author to present an accurate and unbiased view. Review articles provide information about the topic, and also provide journal references to the original research.

The formats of journal articles vary, but many follow the general IMRAD scheme recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Such articles begin with an abstract, which is a one-to-four-paragraph summary of the paper. The introduction describes the background for the research including a discussion of similar research. The materials and methods or experimental section provides specific details of how the research was conducted. The results and discussion section describes the outcome and implications of the research, and the conclusion section places the research in context and describes avenues for further exploration. In addition to the above said, some scientific journals such as Science will include a news section where scientific developments (often involving political issues) are described. These articles are often written by science journalists and not by scientists. In addition some journals will include an editorial section and a section for letters to the editor. While these are articles published within a journal, they are not generally regarded as scientific journal articles because they have not been peer-reviewed.



Electronic publishing

It has been argued that peer-reviewed paper journals are in the process of being replaced by electronic publishing, in its various forms. One form is the online equivalent of the conventional paper journal. By 2006, almost all scientific journals have, while retaining their peer-review process, established electronic versions; a number have even moved entirely to electronic publication. Most academic libraries, similarly, buy the electronic version, and purchase a paper copy only for the most important or most used titles. There is usually a delay of several months after an article is written before it is published in a journal and this makes paper journals not an ideal format for announcing the latest research. Many journals now publish the final papers in their electronic version as soon as they are ready, without waiting for the assembly of a complete issue, as is necessary in paper. In many fields where even greater speed is wanted, such as physics, the role of the journal at disseminating the latest research has largely been replaced by preprint databases such as arXiv.org. Almost all such articles are eventually published in traditional journals, which still provide an important role in quality control, archiving papers, and establishing scientific credit

6. Forms of Academic Teaching

A lecture is an oral presentation intended to present information or teaches people about a particular subject, for example by a university or college teacher. Lectures are used to convey critical information, history, background, theories and equations. A politician’s speech, a minister’s sermon, or even a businessman’s sales presentation may be similar in form to a lecture. Usually the lecturer will stand at the front of the room and recite information relevant to the lecture’s content. Though lectures are much criticized as a pedagogical method, universities have not yet found practical alternative teaching methods for the large majority of their courses.



Critics point out that lecturing is mainly a one-way method of communication that does not involve significant audience participation. Therefore, lecturing is often contrasted to active learning. But lectures delivered by talented speakers can be highly stimulating; at the very least, lectures have survived in academia as a quick, cheap and efficient way of introducing large numbers of students to a particular field of study. Lectures have a significant role outside the classroom, as well. Academic and scientific awards routinely include a lecture as part of the honor, and academic conferences often center around “keynote addresses”, i.e., lectures. The public lecture has a long history in the sciences and in social movements. Union halls, for instance, historically have hosted numerous free and public lectures on a wide variety of matters. Similarly, churches, community centers, libraries, museums, and other organizations have hosted lectures in furtherance of their missions or their constituents’ interests.


The noun “lecture” dates from 14th century, meaning «action of reading, that which is read”, from the Latin lectus (“to read”). Its subsequent meaning as “a discourse on a given subject before an audience for purposes of instruction” is from the 16th century. The verb “to lecture” is attested from 1590. The noun “lectern” refers to the reading desk used by lecturers. In British English and several other languages the noun “lecture” must grammatically be the object of the verb “to read”.


The practice in the medieval university was for the instructor to read from an original source to a class of students who took notes on the lecture. The reading from original sources evolved into the reading of glosses on an original and then more generally to lecture notes. Throughout much of history, the diffusion of knowledge via handwritten lecture notes was an essential element of academic life.

A lecture at a medieval university Rembrandt’s The Anatomy (1350s ) showing the lecturer Lecture of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp reading a text from the lectern to


Even in the twentieth century the lecture notes taken by students, or prepared by a scholar for a lecture, have sometimes achieved wide circulation (see, for example, the genesis of Ferdinand de Saussure’s Cours de linguistique günürale). Many lecturers were, and still are, accustomed to simply reading their own notes from the lectern for exactly that purpose. Nevertheless, modern lectures generally incorporate additional activities, e. g. writing on a chalk-board, exercises, class questions and discussions, or student presentations.

The use of multimedia presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint has changed the form of lectures, e.g. video, graphics, websites, or prepared exercises may be included. Most commonly, however, only outlines composed of “bullet points” are presented. Critics contend that this style of lecture bombards the audience (as critics such as Edward Tufte put it) with unnecessary and possibly distracting or confusing graphics. Others simply think this form of lecture is non-spontaneous and boring...


Bligh, in What’s the Use of Lectures? argues that lectures “represent a conception of education in which teachers who know give knowledge to students who do not and are therefore supposed to have nothing worth contributing”. Based on his

review of numerous studies, he concludes that lecturing is as effective, but not more effective, as any other teaching method in transmitting information. Nevertheless, lecturing is not the most effective method for promoting student thought, changing attitudes, or teaching behavioral skills.

Other forms

Many university courses relying on lectures supplement them with smaller discussion sections, tutorials, or laboratory experiment sessions as a means of further actively involving students. Often these supplemental sections are led by graduate students, tutors, Teaching Assistants or Teaching Fellows rather than senior faculty. Those other forms of academic teaching include discussion (recitation if conducted by a Teaching Assistant), seminars, workshops, observation, practical application, case examples/ case study, experiental learning/active learning, computer- based instruction and tutorials.

In schools the prevalent mode of student-teacher interaction is lessons.


A lesson is a structured period of time where learning is intended to occur. It involves one or more students (also called pupils or learners in some circumstances) being taught by a teacher or instructor. A lesson may be either one section of a textbook (which, apart from the printed page, can also include multimedia) or, more frequently, a short period of time during which learners are taught about a particular subject or taught how to perform a particular activity. Lessons are generally taught in a classroom but may instead take place in a situated learning environment. In a wider sense, a lesson is an insight

gained by a learner into previously unfamiliar subject-matter. Such a lesson can be either planned or accidental, enjoyable or painful. The colloquial phrase “to teach someone a lesson”, means to punish or scold a person for a mistake they have made in order to ensure that they do not make the same mistake again. Lessons can also be made entertaining. When the term education is combined with entertainment, the term edutainmentis coined.

Types of lesson

There are many different formats and structures of lessons:

• One teacher/instructor with many students

• Private tuition (one-on-one teaching)

• No teacher presence, perhaps a formal learning time with use of textbooks or multimedia

Pre-recorded tapes have been a popular method of learning, particularly for foreign languages and modern techniques such as video conferencing have allowed teaching to be undertaken without the students or teachers being in the same room.

Date: 2015-12-24; view: 737

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