Scientific Methods

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


All Email originating from UWC is covered by disclaimer

Hi Everyone

I noted two comments on this topic, indicating some mis-understandings that need to be cleared up.

  1. Contrary to what has been expressed, we have not CHANGED the way of REFERENCING, we have adopted the CBE/CSE style, and this is especially important for referencing.
  2. We have provided a quick reference (Vanessa kindly prepared this) which is primarily aimed for preparation of Essays, Projects and Prac Write-ups.
  3. For Written Articles - in other words handed-in assignments (Essays, Projects, Prac Write-ups) I would recommend that you do the referencing with the Author and Date and list the references in alphabetical order.
  4. For Internet publication and when Presenting your research at a Conference or on a Poster having lots of authours and dates makes it more difficult to read (it can get very cluttered) I suggest that you use the numbering system so after a reference use a number in square brackets and if it is a URL hyperlink it to the site if publishing electronically, so it is easy for a reader to navigate to it.
  5. It has become something of an INFORMAL standard for material that is put onto the INTERNET or presented in a POWERPOINT to use the numbering system - this is why Wikipedia uses it, and so do most Online Journals.
  6. Remember that different Journals have different editorial styles (I will post something on this next week) but still adopt the CBE/CSE style, for example Journals that have a wider audience such as Nature and Science have used the numbering system for referencing to save space and thereby publish more articles.  In contrast your more specialised Journals will stick to citing the authour and date - which remains the more conventional approach.
  7. To Summarize:  For PowerPoints and Blog Postings and other Electronic Publication use the Numbering system otherwise stick to Author and Date referencing.
  8. Numbering system must be sequential the first reference cited is [1], the second reference cited is [2] etc, and these should be listed at the end of the article or on your last slide in numerical order.  Referencing using Author and Date should be listed in Alphabetical order and where you have multiple references from the same author this should be listed in chronological order with the earliest references listed first.

Please confirm that you have read this and if still unclear indicate this when confirming by comment.
Dr Richard Knight
Co-ordinator: National Information Society Learnerships - Ecological Informatics
Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag X17
Bellville 7535
Phone 27 + 21 + 959 3940
Fax 27 + 21 + 959 1237
Please cc important email to

Monday, July 24, 2006



I still see confusion, so as to clear up things I will try and explain what each of the documents under the Plagiarism Statement mean and when to use them. I confirm that I received your first hard-copies and CD for the Map Projections Assignment 2 with all forms signed.

Plagiarism declaration to be included in all assignments.doc

This document is to be submitted with EACH and EVERY assignment - although there is no a place for it, I would suggest that you also write in the name of the assignment on that form and then attach (staple) to the back of all submitted work. Make sure that all submitted work has a front piece with Your Ful Name, Student Number, Student Email (CSIR), Assignment Title, Course Title (and Course code e.g. BCB703) and Date. (Note you have done this correctly so many thanks!)

Plagiarism declaration.doc

I need this document for each course (e.g. BCB703) thast you undertake but only ONCE for the course - it is so we have on record that you understand the issue of plagiarism. Each course is assume to be independent legal contracts. Although the form does not ask it I would add the APPROPRIATE course code next to the heading GENERAL PLAGIARISM DECLARATION.

Plagiarism statement of guilt.doc

This document is only to be used if we identified that you have committed plagiarism - in essence it is an "admission of guilt". You do not sign this until we have made a request that you do so AND on us providing evidence that you have committed this offence. Please see the Code of Honour that I put up earlier, and I assume you accepted THIS GUIDELINE - this indicates what represents an appropriate amount of evidence for this procedure to be implemented. So these forms you have filled will be destroyed and I am starting you off from this day with a clean slate of no offenses. Please remember once you have signed this document you have only one chance before disciplinary action leading to your possible academic exclusion is initiated through the Proctor and this will necessitate that you come down to Cape Town.

PLAGIARSIM PROCEDURE.doc - this is the official document from the Science Faculty to guide you on this issue.

I have attached the official Department guidelines on referencing - if you apply this you will not be penalised in any way UNLESS we have specifically asked you to do something different in the ASSIGNMENT instructions, so I suggest you print out the CSE Referencing document and keep by you at all times.

Due to the need for these documents all future assignments have to be submitted in Hard Copy and Electronic formats. I will seek final confirmation from the Department and the Faculty later ion this issue.


Please if you do not understand these documents or this posting either add a comment if you think it is a general lack of clarity inb the class otherwise you can email me at my UWC address. Personal issues, like the my own file will not open you should contact me directly.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Below are SUMMARIZED guidelines from the Council of Science Editors (CSE) to use when referencing your work.

There are two parts to referencing. Firstly, the source of
information is indicated by placing the author’s surname and the year of
publication in brackets at the appropriate place in the body of the text.
Secondly, at the end of the paper the full references are listed in alphabetical
order by first author surname.

1) Citations in the text

The surname of the author and the year of publication are
placed in parentheses to acknowledge the source of information, e.g. (Smith

If the author’s name forms part of the sentence, provide
only the year of publication in parentheses, and place the parentheses
immediately after the name, e.g. Smith (2006) made this discovery.

If there are two authors on a paper, separate their names
with either ‘and’ or ‘&’, e.g. (Smith and Jones 2006).

For three or more authors on a paper, use the name of the
first author followed by et al. (which means ‘and others’), e.g. (Smith
et al. 2006).

When quoting directly from a source, use quotation marks
and then provide the page number where that quote was taken from with the
citation, e.g. (Smith 2006 p 57).

Multiple references for the same statement are separated
with a semi-colon and ordered chronologically, e.g. (Smith 1998; Jones 2002).

For multiple works by the same author, give the name once
and then separate the years with commas, e.g. (Smith 2000, 2003)

For multiple works by the same author in the same year, use
small letters to distinguish them, e.g. (Smith 2006a, 2006b). The first work
that you refer to will be “a”, the second one “b”, and so on.

2) Reference list

The reference list is alphabetical by the first author’s
surname. When authors have identical surnames, sequence references
alphabetically by the initials of the first author, then by the first letters of
any following surnames. When the authors’ surnames are identical in two or more
references, these references are sequenced by publication date from earliest to
latest. Use the formats below to reference specific sources of information.

· Book:

General format: Author/editor. Year. Title of book.
Edition. Place of publication: Publisher. Number of pages.

Example: Krebs JR, Davies NB. 1993. An Introduction
to Behavioural Ecology. 3rd ed. London: Blackwell Science. 420 p.

· Book Chapter:

General format: Author. Year. Title of chapter. In:
Editor of book, editor. Title of book. Edition. Place of publication: publisher.
Pages of selection.

Example: Akerele O. 1995. Medicinal plants and
protected areas. In: McNeely JA, editor. Expanding Partnerships in Conservation.
Washington, D.C.: Island Press. p 75-81.

· Journal Article:

General format: Author. Year. Article title.
Journal title

Example: Ryan MJ, Rand W, Hurd PL, Phelps, SM, Rand
AS. 2003. Generalization in response to mate recognition signal
American Naturalist 161(3):380-394.

· Dissertation or Thesis:

General format: Author. Date. Dissertation/Thesis
title [dissertation/thesis]. Place of university: Name of University. Number of

Example: Angell CM. 2006. Body fat condition of
free-ranging right whales Eubalaena glacialis and
Eubalaena australis
[PhD thesis]. Boston: Boston University. 256 p.

· Newspaper Article:

General format: Author. Year Month Day. Article
title. Newspaper title; section:pages (column).

Example: Rensberger B, Specter B. 1989 Aug 7. CFCs
may be destroyed by natural process. Washington Post; Sect A:2 (col 5).

· Conference Paper:

General format: Author. Year. Paper title. In:
Editor, editors. Title of volume. Conference Name; Full date; Place of
publication: Publisher. Pages of selection.

Example: De Bourcier P, Wheeler M. 1997. The truth
is out there: the evolution of reliability in aggressive communications systems.
In: Husbands P, Harvey I, editors. Proceedings of the fourth European conference
on artificial life. Fourth European Conference on Artificial Life; 1997 Jul
28-31; Cambridge; MA: MIT Press. p 444 453.

· Conference Abstract:

General format: Author. Year. Abstract title
[abstract]. In: Conference name; Full date; Place of conference: Title of
organization. Pages of selection.

Example: Bottai M. 2001. Bootstrap confidence bands
for assessing environmental pollution [abstract]. In: Geographic Information
Sciences in Public Health: First European Conference; 2001 Sep 19-20; Sheffield,
UK: Stockholm Center of Public Health. p 25.

· Magazine Article:

General format: Author. Date. Article title.
Magazine title: pages.

Example: Wilson EO. 1998 Mar. Back from chaos.
Atlantic Monthly: 41-62.

· Electronic Journal:

General format: Author. Article title. Journal
[internet]. Date published [cited date]; volume(issue):pages.
Available from: URL

Example: Janz N, Nylin S, Wahlberg N. Diversity
begets diversity: host expansions and the diversification of plant-feeding
insects. BMC Evolutionary Biology [internet]. 2006 Jan 18 [cited 2006 Jun
23]; 6(4): (10 pages). Available from:

· Web Page:

General format: Author. Document title [internet].
Title of complete work; update date [cited date]. Available from: URL

Example: Wikipedia contributors. Citation
[Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 Jun 30, 18:21 UTC [cited 2006 Jul 16]. Available from:

This was prepared by Dr Vanessa Couldridge for students to have a quick guide.