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CHEM 1810 (Lab)UVA Home

Chemical Principles Laboratory (CHEM 181L)

Writing Assignments Printer-Friendly Version

The writing assignments in CHEM 1811 have two purposes, one to allow you to practice a skill which is vital to science and the other to provide you with opportunities to explore and become familiar with the scientific literature. Writing is a necessary component of science in that it is the medium to report on experimental findings and it is also the vehicle to propose and defend hypotheses. Being able to read the literature without intimidation, understand basic scientific premises which are presented, and gleen novel ideas from scientific studies is as important.

Three writing assignments will be collected throughout the semester, two are required and one is optional. Each of the required assignments will be worth 15 points, with the sum of them accounting for 6% of your final course grade. (The optional assignment can be used to replace a low or missing grade from the following categories: Writing Assignments or Notebook Check.)

The topics for the assignments will come from three different sources: popular chemistry magazines, Chemical & Engineering News, and an American Chemical Society journal. You will be given freedom to choose the exact topic/article you wish to read and write about.

Each of the writing assignments should be typed and have between 250-500 words; i.e. 1-2 pages, double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font (or equivalent), 1" margins. At the very least, your paper should answer the following questions (point totals for each part are shown in parentheses):

1. What is the title of the article, and who is its author? (1 point)
What is the key topic/question (or hypothesis) discussed in the paper? (3 points)
3. What reasons does the author give for why the topic is important? (3 points)

To receive maximum credit, you should consider the following questions, as well as other related questions that you come up with (8 points):

1. Why did you choose the specific article you did?
2. What did you find interesting about the article?

3. What was the main concept you learned from the article?
4. Can you think of other areas of chemistry/science where the topic discussed might be useful?

Note: Although not specifically defined in the point breakdown, poor grammar and spelling will adversely influence your final grade. Please proofread and spell check.

© 2004-2013 Michael Palmer