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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

NRC 571 - Fisheries Science & Management

Course guide for Fall 2010

Need writing help?

Ask a Librarian!

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

Natural Resources Conservation Department

Avoiding Plagiarism

The UMass Writing Program's site on

Avoiding Plagiarism

with information relevant to UMass Amherst students, and general links from the web.

Writing in science

Books on scientific writing in our collection: (links go to the UMass Amherst library catalog)

Writing in Biology : a brief guide, Leslie Ann Roldan, Mary-Lou Pardue - 2016
UM Science QH304 .R65 2016 (not Reference)

Mastering scientific and medical writing: a self-help guide, Silvia M. Rogers - 2014
Link above goes to the library record for the e-book
We also have a paper copy of an older edition:

UM Science  Reference T11 .R64 2007

A short guide to writing about biology, 8th ed, [2013] - Jan A. Pechenik, Pearson
UM Science QH304 .P43 2013 (not Reference)

Writing science : how to write papers that get cited and proposals that get funded, Joshua Schimel, Oxford U Press, 2012.
Link above goes to the library record for the e-book

Scientific method for ecological research, 2000 - E. David Ford
Link above goes to the library record for the e-book
We also have paper copies: UM Science QH541.2 .F66 2000, and at Hampshire College.

Scientific style and format: the CSE manual for authors, editors, and publishersby the Style Manual Committee, Council of Biology Editors
UM Science 
 Reference T11 .S386 2014

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.


Web links:

Planning Your Scientific Research Paper, 2004 - Jon A. Gibson, Northeast Fisheries Science Center.
Pertinent, detailed advice for
researchers in his field, but useful for all scientists.

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:

Citing Websites

There are many standard formats for citations. Your professor should let you know which to use.

If you use RefWorks to track citations, you can use the RefGrabIt utility to add them to your list of references.  However, since websites are often not written in a standard way, sometimes they don't tell you who wrote them, or when they were last updated.  This is a bad sign, and one of the many problems with using information from the Web.

The information you need to cite a website:

  • Author (individual, or organization - look for an "About" link)
  • Date published if available; or if not, use: n.d. (no date)
  • Title of article (within the page)
  • Title of web site (in top bar of browser, or just at top of page)
  • Retrieved date (date you took the information from the website)
  • URL (Universal Resource Locator - web address)

Many scientists and science journals follow the American Psychological Association (APA) style of citations, or one based on that style.  The full APA style guide is not available online, but here is one website which will help you cite websites using APA.

"Create your APA Website citation"

The rules of APA Style are detailed in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, in the Du Bois Reference collection, call number UM Reference / BF76.7 .P83 2010