Scientific Methods

Wednesday, April 12, 2006



I am still getting email messages of confusion ... here goes one more time to try and explain....

About the Courseware Weblog ( 

I have a student that has said that he could only access the Weblog  now .... you could always access it  (just use the hyperlink above), you could always add a comment to continue the discussion thread of each posting by clicking the blue underlined comments text.  All the invitations that I sent to you do is to send an email back to you when there are new posts - can you confirm this.
You want to add a new posting?  - this is done by preparing an email in your GroupWise email client.
  1. Check that you have made a Signature File* (from tomorrow all postings submitted will be deleted if there is no Signature file at the end of your email!)
  2. Please DO NOT put your name at the top of the posting - correctly set up your signature file will identify you.
  3. The title of your Posting goes into the Subject: e.g. TO SUMMARIZE WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE  - This must be done in CAPITALS! (from tomorrow all postings submitted without CAPITALS for the topic heading will be deleted!)
  4. Into the To: you type in the following email address
  5. Make sure the View (Top toolbar) is set to HTML (the options are HTML or Plain Text the selected option is indicated by a black dot next to the selected option)
  6. In the Message box select Tahoma as the font and 8 for the font size. (For me this is the default settings).  Only change the colour to emphasize points, similarly use bold and CAPS to emphasize - when I use CAPS - it virtually means I am shouting at you to take notice! If I put in larger letters and BOLD it means my shouting is in increased volumes - get the message eh?
  7. Start the body of your message immediately (No need for any more titles, names etc).
  8. Have a look at the way I have set up my postings, remember sentences start with a Capital letter and end with a full stop.  Following a full stop leave two spaces before starting a new sentence. Use a comma at natural breaks in the sentence, and then after using a comma leave one space.
  9. When making a new Paragraph please use TWO HARD RETURNS - this will ensure enough space is left to clearly show the paragraph structure and make you message easier to read.
  10. Read and then re-read your message - it is going out to the rest of the World as if it were a Press Release!
  11. Use the Email Spell Check before submitting
  12. Finally check for species names - they should be written in italics e.g. Australopithecus afarensis, please note that the genus uses a capital letter and the species name a lower case letter.  When you first introduce the species give it the full name e.g. Australopithecus afarensis, thereafter you can abbreviate using A. afarensis.  If you introduce another genus such as Acacia cyclops you cannot then abbreviate it to A. cyclops  in your article since this will be interpreted as meaning Australopithecus cyclops!
  13. The terms Acacia spp. and Acacia sp. have very different meanings, in the former it means several species of Acacia (e.g. Acacia cyclops, Acacia saligna etc) and in the latter it means an un-identified species of Acacia.
  14. Although Wikipedia does start sentences with "A. afarensis was found in...", this is not strictly correct and when starting a sentence you should spell the name out in full, e.g. Australopithecus afarensis was found in ... , also when starting a sentence with number it should be spelt out in full e.g. Forty-five percentage of Lucy's bones were found... (see rules about writing numbers

*A Signature File looks like this
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
To make a Signature File select Accounts from the Toolbar - a drop-down menu will appear from this select Account Options a Dialogue Box entitled "Accounts" will appear- on the right hand side there are some buttons select Properties a second Dialogue Box will appear entitled "Novel GroupWise Properties" at the top are Tab bars entitled "General", "Server" and "Signature" select the Signature  - a message is provided to supply your Signature - prepare one like the one illustrated, but ensure that your Weblog Address is included.  Make sure the tick box is ticked and that you have ticked the radio button that automatically adds your Signature File.  Finally click OK to accept these options and complete making your Signature File.
About submitting Assignments (email: 
When assignments are requested to be emailed please use the above account.  WARNING emails sent to that contain assignments will be deleted immediately in order that my email mailbox has sufficient space to send out emails.  After three days it is deleted anyway!  My UWC email  account is for fast turn around but has very limited mailbox capacity.  However, please note I cannot access my GMAIL account very regularly (usually only over weekends so if you want a fast reply post it on the Weblog!)
About your own Weblog 
You have been asked to create your own Weblog - this will need to maintained for the rest of the year.  The UWC students were asked to use a Weblog service other than whereas the Pretoria NISL-EI students were asked to set up a Weblog using The reason is to see if a better BLOG service exists.   At the end of the year you will be asked to prepare a short report on features and quality of service of the BLOG Service you used. 
To maintain a BLOG service you will need to make an account which will give you access to an administrators page. To manage your account you will need a user name and password which you and ONLY you should know.  It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to keep this information, but you should lose it use the help system on the BLOG service to get this resent or to re-configure your username and password.  It takes only a few minutes to make your Weblog - have a look at Vanessa's Blog and Martie's Blog at both of whom set it up in a very short time.  It is VERY EASY to make your own Weblog!
Forthcoming Deadlines this Thursday 13 April !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Term Project Abstract - Please post a  Conference style Abstract of between 250 and 500 words describing your Research Topic that you will be undertaking.  This should be posted to this Weblog, but I would also suggest you post it to your own "Personal Weblog". For more details see
  • Film Review - You were ask to write a review of either What the Bleep Do We Know? or Elegant Universe and to provide a star rating for this posting.  You were asked to submit this to your own Personal Weblog and advertise this review by adding a comment to following posting - this URL provides more details on the assignment.
Now for the Good News you can download the eight parts of the third an final episode of Elegant Universe from this links (Quick Time Movie format *.mov) - just Right Click and "Save Target as" to download the file...
Good Luck with getting your assignment, an can each of you confirm that you have READ THIS POSTING by adding a comment to it ..... Thanks!
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


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