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Writing Assignments

To insure that everyone has adequately read the paper, at the beginning of class each student must turn in a 1-page paper critique for each paper to be discussed. Each critique should state the main point of the paper, the most important result supporting this point, and the scientific significance of this point. If there seem to be multiple points to a paper, pick the point you think is most important, and briefly (e.g. in 1 sentence) state why this point is more important than others. Then critique this main point, i.e. state the strengths and weaknesses of the methods that bear on believing this main point, or that limit the circumstances under which this point is applicable. You should critique both the result(s) and the conclusion(s) drawn from the result(s). Also welcome is a "critique" that states a value of the current paper from a demonstration that something in another paper, or a widely held idea, is wrong. This paper critique should not be longer than 1 page (double spaced if printed, or single spaced if hand-written).

Questioners for a given class session, should also turn in a list of questions to be discussed. Two copies should be made: one to turn in at the beginning of class with the paper critique, and one to keep so you can ask these questions in class. Label each question as Clarification or Critique (at least 1 question should be Critique). A Clarification question asks for some uncertain or unfamiliar part of the paper to be explained. A Critique question presumes that you understood what was done or concluded, but think that it is not adequate or relevant in some way.

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