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UMass Amherst Libraries

Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences

Need writing help?

Ask a Librarian!

RefWorks - citation manager

Writing Center @ Du Bois Library Learning Commons (577-1293)

Plant, Soil & Insect Sciences Department

Turning in your work

Many UMass instructors use plagiarism prevention software.


Books on writing in science

Three books in our collection: i.e. PAPER format - links go to library catalog

Mastering scientific and medical writing: a self-help guide, Silvia M. Rogers
UM Science  Reference T11 .R64 2007

Scientific style and format: the CSE manual for authors, editors, and publishers, by the Style Manual Committee, Council of Biology Editors
UM Science
 Reference T11 .S386 2006

See also the website Council of Science Editors (formerly Council of Biology Editors) Citation Guide
A quick reference for citation styles. RefWorks includes these styles too.

A short guide to writing about biology, by Jan A. Pechenik
UM Science QH304 .P43 2007 (not Reference)

"No stile of writing is so delightful as that which is all pith, which
never omits a necessary word, nor uses an unnecessary one.

-- Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)

Some practical tips on scientific writing from the Biology Department of George Mason University

Use care when relying on websites

View information from the "free Web" with healthy skepticism. Try answering these questions to test the reliability of a website, or any source of information.

  • Who are the authors? Do they have any credentials in this field?
  • When was the last time the site was updated?
  • Do they cite sources for their information? Are these sources reliable?
From the UC Berkeley site listed below:
  1. Step back and think about all you have learned about the page. Listen to your gut reaction. Think about why the page was created, the intentions of its author(s). ...
  2. Be sensitive to the possibility that you are the victim of irony, spoof, fraud, or other falsehood.
  3. Ask yourself if the Web is truly the best place to find resources for the research you are doing.

If you have any doubts about the website, please feel free to contact your librarian!

Some sites with more extensive good advice about evaluating websites: