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PHSL3062w writing/thinking sample

This assignment will be used as a jumping-off point for showing students how they might generate ideas for their papers and how to go about searching a database commonly-used by biomedical researchers. The faculty will also use these answers to make an initial assessment of each student’s facility with writing and critically thinking about what they have read.

(We will model this assignment at the end of a lecture, and ask students to do the assignment during the following week.)


1. Find a newspaper article that deals with a health- or physiology-related issue.

2. Write a one-paragraph summary of this article.

3. Inspired by this article, write a list of 3-5 questions about physiological mechanisms, whicht you would like answered in depth. If there are any other questions about the reporting or the story that concern you, also list those.

Bring a copy of the article, your summary and list of questions to the next lecture. We will use some of your responses to demonstrate how to use the PubMed database to find sources that address specific scientific questions. (At the end of class, you will be asked to turn in the copy of the article, summary, and list of questions. This assignment will not be graded, but will be used as a means of assessment and taking attendance.)


Kathleen---sorry for my delayed response! Have you assigned this? Did it work well?

It looks great to me---I really like the way it is doing triple duty, giving you a sample, getting students to bridge popular media coverage of science, and leading to research procedures they will use in your class. Excellent!

My only student-headed question would relate to the kinds of questions that you'd like me to generate after I summarize the article. What guidelines could you give me about a research-worthy question? What would make a question bomb?

Also--I'd like to know how these will be graded.

Let me know if you've used this and how it has gone.



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