Assignment 1: Scientific writing critique

Due: Monday, February 6, 2017 at 23:59.


The goal of this assignment is to practice reading scientific writing and writing a critique.

cri·tique |krə-ˈtēk, kri-| n.
A detailed analysis and assessment of something, especially a literary, philosophical, or political theory.

The purpose of writing a critique is to get experience in distilling the essence of a piece of writing and critically evaluating it. Note that critique does not mean you are merely looking for flaws in the work. Since these will all be good, if not great, pieces of writing, I don’t expect you to find too much to criticize. However, if you find flaws, by all means write them down. Nor is a critique merely a summary. You should be analyzing the work.


You must write your own critique. Unlike traditional homework assignments, you are encouraged to read your peers’ critiques and make suggestions for improvement. These suggestions can take the form of:

The Assignment

First, choose a general audience science or technology written piece of work. This can came from the Science or Technology sections of newspapers, magazines, or web sites as long as they are of high quality. For example,

Next, write a critique which addresses at least the following (related) points:


Your critique should be at least a page and a half but no more than two pages long (not counting the bibliography). Use 11 pt font with a 1 in margin, single spaced. The critique must contain a bibliography wherein you include full bibliographic references to everything you cite. The bibliography can push your critique over two pages.

You must use LaTeX and BibTeX to format your critique and bibliography. You may use these files as a template: assignment1.tex references.bib.

Your critique must be professional: check your grammar and run a spell-checker–including one last time before submitting. You also need to clearly identify the article and any other source to which you refer.


Submit a PDF of your critique using Blackboard before the deadline.