Reading from the disciplines: science

time to complete: 20 minutes

Task: Look at this academic article from Molecular Biology and Biotechnology and use these questions to help you examine it.

General Information

  • What journal was the article published in and what does this tell you about the type of information in the article?
  •  What is the title of the article?
  • What are the authors’ (writers’) names and what information are you given about the authors?
  • When was the article published?
  • What are the keywords and how could they help you?

 

Article Structure

  • What information does the abstract give you and why is this useful?
  • How many sections are there in the article – what are these sections called?
  • Are there any subsections?  Why are subsections important?

 

Citations and References

  • What is the difference between an in-text citation and a reference
  • How are the references organised?

 

Figures, Tables, Appendices and Acknowledgments

  • How many figures and how many tables are there in the article?
  • Is there an appendix? Is the information contained in the appendix important for your understanding of the article or does it just give you extra detail?
  • Can you find the acknowledgment section? What does it do?

Now, compare your answers to those in the answer key below.

Answer key

What journal was the article published in and what does this tell you about the type of information in the article?

This article comes from the journal of cell science, volume 122, issue 14. It is written for a specialized audience who have a scientific background. 


What is the title of the article? 

How peroxisome multiply


What are the authors’ (writers’) names and what information are you given about the authors?

The authors are Dr Ewald H. Hettema and Dr Alison M. Motley. We know that they belong to the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield. They also provide a correspondence email should readers wish to engage with the authors.


When was the article published? 

No date of publication is provided in the article; however, this can be easily found by checking the volume and issue in which it was published. 


What are the keywords and how could they help you?

The keywords are: ER, Dynamin, Peroxin, Peroxisome. By looking at the key words in this article you can quickly see if it covers the topics you are interested in. 

What information does the abstract give you and why is this useful?

This journal calls ‘abstract’ ‘summary’ as we have explored headings can change depending on the stylistic journal rules. However, you can easily see how the abstract and the summary have the same role. They both briefly summarise the key points of this article:

  1. The importance of peroxisome and their relevance in mainstream biology
  2. The different modes of peroxisome multiplication and the machinery that is involved in each case
  3. Recent observations on how peroxisome behaves.  

This is the key information you will find in the article. By quickly reading the abstract you can make the informed decision to read (or not!) the article.  It depends on whether it needs (or not!) your needs. 


How many sections are there in the article – what are these sections called?

There are eight sections, they are: 

Summary, Introduction, Two modes of peroxisome multiplication, Factors that regulate peroxisome fission, Role of the ER in peroxisome formation, Targeting of PMPs, Conclusions and perspectives, References.


Are there any subsections?  Why are subsections important?

There are no subsections, but just as the headings can help you quickly locate where the information you are looking for is, subsections can help you do so too.

What is the difference between an in text citation and a reference? 

An in text citation tells you where the information comes from. The reference includes all the necessary details to locate the source where the information comes from.  


How are the references organised?

In this case, references are alphabetically organised. However, please notice that each referencing system has its convention. When in doubt, check the library guidelines

How many figures and how many tables are there in the article?

There are 3 figures, these figures are really helpful to convey schematic representations of processes and to show lab results.There is only one table, tables are really useful to clearly and effectively present numeric information. Both tables and figures help to convey more complex information in a clear manner. 


Is there an appendix? Is the information contained in the appendix important for your understanding of the article or does it just give you extra detail?

There is no appendix in this article. 


Can you find the acknowledgment section? What does it do?  

Yes, it appears before the reference list. It acknowledges support received.  

‘E.H.H. is supported by a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Sciences. Deposited in PMC for release after 6 months.’