Pet Peeves

Additional Guidelines for Written Assignments

  • Abbreviations are often necessary and should be introduced clearly when used the first time.
  • Element names (Iron) are spelled out only if they are the first word in a sentence and when they are part of a name (iron oxides). Otherwise, the symbol is used (Fe).
  • Succinct description and clear reference in text to all figures and tables in the text.
  • Do not duplicate data between the text and figures or tables
  • Use SI units or the standard units in the field for all laboratory data. Appropriate formatting is used to indicate units. For example, mg kg-1 is correct, while mg/kg or ppm is not. Pay attention to these details in the literature you are reviewing.
  • Use bold font to indicate references to figures, tables, and equations in the text. This helps during the proofreading process. Reference to Figure 1 in the middle of a sentence and at the end of the sentence ( 1). The word is always spelled out in entirety (Table 1).
  • All figures and tables must have a descriptive caption clearly explaining the figure. Explain all abbreviations and symbols used in the figure and provide sufficient experimental and statistical detail.
  • Provide sufficient experimental detail to allow reproducibility by a person with a similar skill level as yourself.
  • Provide details on the origin of chemicals you use. Example: sodium chloride (JT Baker, lot 324)
  • If instrumentation is used, report the make and model number of the instruments and location of manufacture. Example: 7500 series High Performance Liquid Chromatography (Agilent; Ames, IA)
  • If non-standard software is used, report the version of the software and reference the developer. Example: Sixpack (version 1.57; Webb, 2006).
  • Pay attention to significant figures. All measurements should have an uncertainty associated with them. Error only has one significant figure, and this often limits the number of significant figures in a measurement. Example: 3.45 +3 should be reported as 3.4+0.3. If you have questions about this, see your instructor.
  • Pay attention to consistent formatting for both in-text citations and in the reference list. Be sure to manually double check that the reference list and text (including figure and tables) have the exact same references.

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