Scientific Methods

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


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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
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