21W.777 | Spring 2017 | Undergraduate

Science Writing in Contemporary Society


Format for Essays & Citations

All drafts must be word-processed. Follow the format given below for all the essays you produce for this class.

Note: 12-pt. Times Roman is a good choice for all your work.

At the top left of the first page:

Student Name

Science Writing for the Public

Essay 1/Draft 1*

September 19, 2016*

Word count: 920*           *Remember to change the essay no., draft no., word count and date for each draft.

[double space]

Then the Title of Your Essay

[double space]

Epigraphs (optional) go here

--Authors of epigraphs go here

[double space]

[indent] Your essay text begins here …

Your Title is not underlined, in quotes, or in italics; use boldface and initial capitals, as shown. Note: Do not use a separate sheet for a “title page”.

Number your pages, by hand if necessary. Note: It is customary not to number the first page.

Margins: 1" top and bottom; 1 ¼" left and right.

Double space essays.

Font: Use type that is easy to read. I prefer either Times New Roman 12-point, or Optima 12-point.

Paragraphs: Indent paragraphs. Do not leave extra space between paragraphs unless you intend it to signify a transition.

A Note on Citation

We’ll use Nature citation style or “magazine style” for all our essays. Nature style uses a superscript, like this1, coordinated with a list of References at the end. Magazine style doesn’t use references, but I would like a list of Sources at the end of your essays.

With either style, work important sources’ names into your text (not in parentheses!). Use signal phrases—for example: “As Elizabeth Kolbert remarks, … ”; “According to Malcolm Gladwell, … ” ; “While Michael Pollan claims [whatever] in his essay [title], … “

Modified Nature reference style

These are the key elements of Nature style.

  1. References—in the listing that appears at the end of your essay—are each numbered, ordered sequentially as they appear in your text, tables, boxes, or figure captions.
  2. When cited in the text, reference numbers are superscript, not in brackets unless they are likely to be confused with a superscript number. Each source is assigned one number; each time you draw on that source, use the same superscript number, like this.1
  3. In addition–this is the modification–we are using signal phrases to introduce authors of quotes as well as anything where knowing the source will add to the validity and impact of the evidence. (According to Michael Pollan …; “ …, as reported in a recent issue of the New York Times.”)
    • When you name an author or expert, you will probably want to identify her or him for readers, so that they will see the source’s credibility at a glance.
    • When your source is a research study, and you are writing for the public, most of the time you’ll just want to name the journal where the study was published, and not include the names of the researchers.
    • Similarly, when your source is a newspaper story, name the publication – The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal—and not Rudy Reporter, as the publication carries more weight. Exception: Some journalists have national reputations and are worth naming. Examples include Michael Pollan, Malcolm Gladwell, Elizabeth Kolbert … if you are in doubt, ask me.
  4. In your list of references:
    • Authors should be listed surname first, followed by a comma and initials of given names.
    • Titles of all cited articles are required. Titles of articles cited in reference lists should be in upright, not italic text; the first word of the title is capitalized, the title written exactly as it appears in the work cited, ending with a full stop.
    • Book titles are italic with all main words capitalized.
    • Journal titles are italic and abbreviated according to common usage. Volume numbers are bold. The publisher and city of publication are required for books cited. (Refer to published papers in Nature for details.)
    • References to web-only journals should give authors, article title and journal name as above, followed by URL in full—or DOI if known—and the year of publication in parentheses.
    • References to websites should give authors if known, title of cited page, URL in full, and year of posting in parentheses.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2017
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments