The Structure of a Scientific Article

Total duration – ca. 2 hours.

The Case of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker

At approximately 1:30 in the afternoon on February 11, 2004, Gene Sparling spotted a large black and white woodpecker while kayaking on a rural bayou in Monroe County, Arkansas. The notes he posted to his website about the sighting caught the attention of Tim Gallagher and Bobby Harrison, two university researchers, and triggered a year-long research effort that resulted in the publication of a peer-reviewed paper in the journal Science. The link below gives free access to this research article. To learn more about scientific writing, including how research papers are organized, how they are reviewed, and how they contribute to our understanding of the scientific world, read the article and then try the exercise below.

See original paper by Fitzpatrick et al. (2005) “Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) Persists in Continental North America” Science 308:1460-1462.

Now answer these questions

Reconstructing abstracts

Total duration – ca. 1 hour.

Download the Word document which contains four article abstracts deconstructed as a random series of sentences. Now put the sentences back in their original order.

Your answers need only include the order of the lettered sentences.

Acknowledgement: Part of the exercise was taken from