Writing with Scientists
Writing with Scientists Home Step 1: Discover Your Big QuestionStep 2: Explain the Hows and WhysStep 3: Present Your InformationStep 4: Conclude with New QuestionsStep 5: Show Your SourcesStep 6: Publish OnlineRead Student Writing Words to Know


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Step 5: Show Your Sources

For many science reports, in addition to gathering information from your own observations and experiments, you’ll get information from sources such as:

• books
• newspaper, magazine, or journal articles
• Web sites
• interviews

Example in Action
See an excerpt from a student scientist's report.

When you use information from a source, you must record that as a part of your paper. A bibliography is a good way to show exactly what sources you used.

There are different ways to make a bibliography, so if you're doing a report for school, be sure to ask your teacher for a preferred format.

Here are examples of how to show your sources:

By a single author:
Marks, Paula. The Human Genome Project. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.

By two authors:
Polsky, Phillip E., and Lauren Shaeffer. A Guide to Rocks and Minerals. Oxford, MS: University of Mississippi, 1999.

By three authors:
Martin, Linda, Shelia Daar, and Mary Williams. Montana's Glacier National Park. West Glacier, MT: Falcon Publishing Company, 2001.

By more than three authors:
Ferrara, John E., et al. Hyraxes and Kopjes. Los Angeles: Rainbow Press, 2000.

By an unknown author:
Exploring the Everglades. Boston: Harcourt Brace, 2003.

By an editor:
Ronan, Colin A., ed. Science Explained. New York: Henry Holt, 1998.

Trainen, Martha. "New York State." Encyclopedia Americana. 1999.

Moffet, Mark. "Poison-Dart Frogs: Lurid and Lethal." National Geographic May 1995: 98-101.

McMahon, Hugh. "New Find in Long Island's Jurassic Park." Newsday 27 October 1998: B2.

Journal Articles
Chu, John. "Habitat Use and Separation Between the Giant Panda and the Red Panda." Journal of Mammology 81.2 (2000): 438-455.

Web Site Articles
Wenner, Elizabeth. Dynamics of the Salt Marsh. Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 21 December 2003.
http://water.dnr.state.sc.us/ marine/pub/seascience/dynamic.html

Personal Interview
Williams, Julie. Interviewed by Kolea Zimmerman. Volcano, Hawaii, 2 December 2002.

Bibliography examples care of the American Museum of Natural History’s Young Naturalist Awards.

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Dr. Susan Perkins

Scientist at Work

The bibliography of the report that I prepared provided all the sources, including books and other published journal articles that I used throughout my research. I found it helpful to keep one organized list of my sources as I worked — that saved me a lot of time later on. One way to avoid unintended plagiarism — or stealing someone else's words — is to jot down what you learned from each source in your own words as you go.

Print a Worksheet (PDF)