Science Quiz | Give it a Try!

1. Formal research reports in biology are often based on.
Biology Report - "Days and days in the Library"
Biology Report - "Listening to Freddie and the Dreamers"
Biology Report - "Field Research"
Biology Report - "Asking the Professor for Help"

2. When writing a science report or paper, you always want to put your work in

a nice folder
a respectable journal
the context of previous research
slow boat to China

3. How do scientists cite their sources?

the author and the title
the author and the year
the title and the page number

4. According to Professor Ron Smith, what is the best kind of topic to write on?

one that interests you
one that interests the professor
one that takes the least amount of energy
science fiction

5. How is the abstract for a scientific article organized?

Using the IMRAD formula
Using the NIMROD formula
Using the baby formula
By summarizing the results

6. What is the IMRAD formula?

Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion
One of life's mysteries
What made the Herman's Hermits famous
A principle in math

7. What is the purpose of the materials and methods section of your paper?

To fill up the paper
To list the materials used
To help others replicate the experiment
To justify your experiment

8. What is out of place in the Materials and Methods section?

Chemicals used
Any reference to The Hollies
Variables considered

9. What goes into the Results Section of a scientific paper?

Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas
Interpretation of data
Experimental findings

10. How much of the Results Section should be presented visually, in graphs, etc.?

Less than half
Over half

11. Is it true that scientists tolerate p-values that are larger than those tolerated in the social sciences?

Definitely not

12. When scientists present detail, it should be . . .

In graph form
Neatly typed

13. Is it true that, unlike other fields, most science journals insist on their own style guides?

No, they use APA
What's a Style Guide?

14. Are transitions between sections of a paper as important in the sciences as they are in the humanities?

What's a transition?

15. Are transitions within sections just as important?

I'm not sure

16. The final question isn't about science, but what would a quiz be without a question on music? What band was once known as the "High Numbers."

The Hollies
The Animals
The Small Faces
The Who

Score =
Correct answers:

Want to see the Science transcript? Click your mouse here.

How'd you do?

0-25% -- I take it you're not a science major?
26-50% -- Lucky guesses.
51-75% -- You show definite potential.
76-99% -- Budding genius!
100% -- If Dr. Smith ever resigns, you can have his job!

" Try your luck with the above quiz on Science. Answer the questions as if you were a member of the research community. If you want to learn more about that community, or about other communities in the sciences and technical communications area, keep reading!"
- Will Garrett-Petts

STUDENT QUESTION: "When you're working on a research paper for the sciences, is there a focus on the work that's been previously done in the subject, or is there a focus more on what you're doing and the work that you're experimenting with? " PROFESSOR SMITH: What you have to do is always place your work in context. So in an introduction to a science paper you always try and let your reader know what the relevant research already done and also how it relates to what your work is. So there's a focus on what has been done in the past, the research context that makes your work relevant. You always want to make the reader aware of how relevant your work is. So you have to present it in context and then you go on from there. Then you always go back and say, well, and my work follows up from this and thus becomes the 'exciting new stuff' on the cutting edge because of that. So you have to do both."

- Go to Science Interview


If you want to learn more about writing reports of all kinds, go directly to the interview with the other Professor Ron Smith (in English & Technical Communications). .
- Go to Interview with Ron Smith

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In addition to the interviews, this site features a variety of essays offering advice on how to write in the different disciplines. If you have ever wondered how to integrate quotations, prepare for essay exams, or find topics that work, go directly to the research essays now.

- Go to the Research Essays


"I think that educational psychologists in general are more quantitative in their approach [than practicing teachers]. Most elementary teachers, I think, are looking more reflectively. There’s a big emphasis on the 'teacher as researcher.' What we are trying to encourage teachers to do is to take command of their own classrooms and look at the problems and pose research questions for themselves and do the research in their classroom and make decisions for themselves. Our writing reflects this. "
- Karen Day, from her interview in the Writing Your 'Self' into the Disciplines series

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Feel free to send material on "Writing in the Humanities" for inclusion or linking to this site. Enquiries should be sent to Dr. W.F. Garrett-Petts via e-mail: or via snail mail:

The Writing in the Disciplines Web Site
C/O Dr. W.F. Garrett-Petts University College of the Cariboo
900 McGill Road
Box 3010, Kamloops, B.C.
Canada, V2C 5N3
fax: 250.371.5697


" One thing that our students often get wrong is in the results section. What they'll start by doing is just show a figure or a table of results. What they don't appreciate, I think, is that what you want to do is convince the reader that you're showing them is real--is valid. An experienced writer often uses that section to emphasize all the important things one wants the reader to take away from the paper. A lot of our student writers miss that opportunity. They just say 'plump, here's the results,' and they're not trying to convince the reader of anything at that point, and yet they should be."
- Ron Smith, The Science Interview

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