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Uottawa History Essay Guide

b) Characters

Use legible, standard font types, such as , , or , in common sizes (12 point for text [ 2 ], 10 point for footnotes and if desired, 14 point for the title page and other headings). Use only black ink.

For transparencies used in overhead projectors, use at least 24 point font size for the text and 36 for headings, and if possible 32 and 44. Use colours sparingly. The text pages of your written assignment should not be simply copied as overhead material. The projection will be too small and will not be legible for the class.

c) Spacing

For assignments that will be marked and receive comments, use double spacing for the text, triple spaces between paragraphs and single spacing for block quotations, footnotes and other reference notes, appendices and the bibliography. For spacing in the table of contents, see the example at the beginning of this Guide. Lists of tables and figures follow the same rules as the table of contents. For other kinds of assignments, single spacing allows you to conserve space and paper. Nonetheless, consult your course instructor and marker before handing in your paper.

d) Emphasis

You may choose to use emphasis (bold, italics or underline) to highlight specific ideas or words. They can be an effective technique, but do not overuse. When quoting another work, indicate in a footnote who is responsible for the emphasis, yourself or the original author: use phrases such as emphasis added, or emphasis in original. When citing titles, use underlining or preferably italics for books, official documents and periodicals, and quotation marks [“   ”] for titles of articles or individual chapters of publications.

e) Page Numbering and Length of Text

Place the page number in the top right-hand corner or top centre of the page. Align with the margin, at 1.5 cm from the top of the page. Do not add any punctuation, dash, bracket or other character with the page number. Count, but do not number, all preliminary pages with headings and other title pages: first page of the table of contents, lists of tables and figures, lists of abbreviations and acronyms, title pages for the introduction, for each main part, the conclusion, the appendices and bibliography. Front matter is usually numbered with lower case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, etc.), placed on the page in the same way as other page numbers. Arabic numbering (1, 2, 3, etc.) begins with the first page of the written text. Include a single sheet of blank paper at the end of your assignment for marking and comments.

Unless you are given other instructions, do not consider titles pages, tables of contents, lists of abbreviations, the bibliography and the appendices when you calculate the length of your paper: only the text of the paper itself. If you are to respect a certain limit of words, consider that one page of double-spaced text in Times New Roman 12 point, without headings and sub-headings, is approximately 300 words, or 600 words single-spaced. While in the past, when calculating the number of words in an assignment, articles, pronouns and conjunctions were excluded, this is no longer the case. Word count functions in most computers will also count all words, without distinction.

f) Division of Sections

For the internal division of your text, use titles and sub-titles that allow you to improve the coherence and organization of your work. Keep them short and precise, concentrating on the main idea you want to convey to the reader. Titles for main parts (introduction, main ideas of the development, conclusion) are written in CAPITAL LETTERS and may include the specific titles “INTRODUCTION”, “PART ONE”, “PART TWO”, etc. or in Roman numerals I, II, III, etc. If applicable (in a thesis or a very substantial essay), the titles of chapters are written in lower case with Arabic numbering (1, 2, 3) and titles of sections alphabetically in lower case letters (a, b, c). Avoid the excessive use of divisions, remembering that the purpose is to help organization and facilitate the reader's understanding of the text. All headings and sub-headings are preceded by a triple space, and followed by a double space.

g) Quotations

Using quotations to illustrate a point, share a convincing argument or present an expression can be an effective way to complement your writing. All quotations must be faithfully reproduced (and placed in quotation marks), but in some circumstances alterations are required to conform with rules of grammar. In some cases, where extensive alterations or omissions are required, it may be preferable to paraphrase. When paraphrasing, you are nonetheless required to use a reference note, either author-date or footnote format. Here are some examples of quotation techniques.

An insertion using square brackets can provide information to clarify the idea:

An omission also allows you to make a quotation more clear, with the use of ellipsis points (three dots) in the place of the omitted text:

When using an interruption, quotation marks are repeated before and after each part of the quotation:

You may include French quotations in your text without providing a translation. Keep the intended reader in mind, and provide appropriate context to support the quotation. Do not place French quotations in italics: use regular quotation marks. For other languages, a translation is required. If you choose to give a translation of any quotation, check first if a translated version exists, either published or non-published, that will lend credibility to your choice of words. If it is necessary to give your own translation, provide an explanatory reference note:

Paraphrasing may allow you to keep the meaning of the quote without using the same words:

Quotations of more than three lines should be placed in single-spaced, block-quotation form, and indented.

h) References and Notes

References indicate the source of an idea or a quotation, and also allow you to make complimentary comments that may not be necessary in the body of the text. There are two major styles commonly used in the social sciences (a third style, endnotes, should be avoided). Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. There are also specific conventions to follow when citing court decisions, important classical works, administrative reports, etc. Consult a common style manual, such as those listed in the bibliography of this Guide, or ask your course instructor to guide you with the most appropriate choice.

Footnotes were the traditional method for references. A line at the bottom of the page separates the notes from the body of the text. You may choose to use the abbreviation ibid., in cases where two or more successive references originate from a single work, but avoid the overuse of ibid.For works previously referenced, give the last name of the author, a shortened title and the page number of the quotation. See the footnotes of this Guide for examples. Other abbreviations, such as op. cit. and loc. cit., referring to previously referenced material, often cause confusion and should not be used. Rather, use the short-title form discussed above.

The author-date reference method discussed in Section 1.h is now widely used by journals and publishing houses. This method, used in the Internet version of this Guide, reduces the use of footnotes to commentary, and places references in the body of your text. A variant of the author-date style, as exposed in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is the norm in psychology.

Students registered in courses offered by the Faculty of Social Sciences have the responsibility to be aware of regulations at both the faculty and university levels. An overview of a number of relevant regulations can be found at the beginning of the Faculty's Undergraduate Studies Calendar. Being informed of university rules on academic fraud, as well as learning and respecting course requirements, can help you avoid any problems in your course work.

1. Academic fraud and plagiarism

a) Fraud

The University of Ottawa defines academic fraud as “an act by a student which may result in a false academic evaluation of that student” (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences 1997: 24). There are many types of fraud related to assignments: plagiarism, falsification of data or sources, the submission of a work or of a piece of a work of which the student is not the author, etc. Academic fraud is subject to sanctions, from a failing mark for the work concerned to expulsion from the University. All persons involved in academic fraud are liable to a penalty.

b) Plagiarism

University work requires both the ability to explore a given subject in depth, and the skill of summarizing and analyzing the work and thoughts of other authors. In this context, using other sources, learning from them and integrating their concepts in your work is inevitable, even encouraged. However, you have an intellectual and ethical responsibility to give credit to those sources that have contributed to your projects. It is essential to identify all your sources, that is the origin of each quotation and idea which you borrow, with precision and diligence. To plagiarize is to use the ideas or words of another person without giving them explicit credit. That 'other person' can be a published or non-published author, a university colleague, a person who completes assignments for others, or even an Internet. Remember that any sequence of words taken from another source must be placed in quotation marks.

Even when paraphrasing an idea borrowed from someone else, found in any source, you must provide an accurate reference or it is considered plagiarism. Conscious or not, plagiarism is always fraud. Therefore, it is necessary to make note of all your sources, both quotations and ideas, as you conduct your reading and research for your assignments.

In case of doubt, it is suggested that you consult the section “Avoiding Plagiarism” in Babbie and Halley (1993: 210-211). These authors give examples of what is and is not acceptable in the use of another's work and suggest some rules of thumb:

    2. Respecting course requirements

    Both at university and in the workplace, it is essential to understand the requirements of an assignment: deadlines, formatting, length, etc. In particular, to maintain an equitable environment for all students, it is required to respect due dates for all university work. It is often mandatory, and always prudent, to submit your assignment by hand to the appropriate person, in class or in their office, at the correct date and time. In cases where assignments are submitted after the deadline, or where other discrepancies exist between the assignment's requirements and the final work, penalties apply as announced in the course outline distributed at the outset of the semester. To keep any penalties to a minimum, it is recommended to have a late assignment stamped with the date and time by the relevant staff person at your academic unit.

    It is also wise to keep a copy (printed or stored on computer) of each of your university assignments, but that does not constitute proof that it was submitted within the given deadlines. Unless you have specific instructions from the course instructor, assignments must not be submitted by facsimile or by e-mail.

    In some cases, failing to submit a required assignment by the due date can result in a grade of INC (incomplete) for the course, equivalent to a failing final mark.

    BABBIE, Earl and Fred HALLEY (1993). Adventures in Social Research., Newbury Park, Calif.: Pine Forge Press.

    BAKER, Sheridan et al. (1997). The Canadian Practical Stylist with Readings. New York: Harper and Row.

    BAXTER-MOORE, Nicolas et al. (1994). Studying Politics: An Introduction to Argument and Analysis. Toronto: Copp Clark Longman.

    BOLNER, James (1997). How to Cite the Internet, http://www.artsci.lsu.edu/poli/lis.html (August).

    BRETON Gilles and Jane JENSON (1992), "Globalisation et citoyenneté; quelques enjeux actuels", in L'ethnicité à l'heure de la mondialisation, eds. Caroline Andrew et al., Ottawa: University of Ottawa: ACFAS-Outaouais.

    Canada. Public Works and Government Services Canada (1997). The Canadian Style. Rev. ed. Toronto: Dundurn Press.

    The Chicago Manual of Style (1993). 14th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    EICHLER, Margrit and Jeanne LAPOINTE (1985). On the Treatment of the Sexes in Research. Ottawa: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

    NORTHEY, Margot (1987). Making Sense: A Student's Guide to Writing and Style. Toronto: Oxford University Press.

    PALYS, Ted (1992). Research Decisions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

    ROBERTSON, Hugh (1991). The Research Essay: A Guide to Papers, Essays and Projects. Rev. ed. Ottawa: Piperhill Publications,.

    SMITH, Alastair G. (1997). “Criteria for evaluation of Internet Information Resources”, http://www.vuw.ac.nz/~agsmith/evaln/index.htm#Authority (March 2).

    University of Ottawa. Faculty of Social Sciences (1997). Undergraduate Studies Calendar 1997-1999. University of Ottawa: Office of the Registrar.

    Traditional style

    Author-date style

    N.B. I am not responsible for offering this course during the Fall 2016 semester.

    A survey of the role of plant-animal interactions in the evolution of biodiversity, either by antagonistic processes including herbivory and seed predation and their consequent physical and chemical arms races, or mutualistic ones including pollination, seed dispersal and plant protection.


    Tues 1130-1 in MacDonald (MCD) 120
    Friday 1-230 in MCD 120

    Office Hours
    TBD for 2017


    Occasionally, I will be required to contact you by email with some info about the course.  Please note that it is your responsibility to check your uottawa email regularly and to respond within a reasonable delay.  You may consult these regulations surrounding email contact at uOttawa here.


    Midterm 1 (Friday October 16): 20 or 30%
    Midterm 2 (Tuesday November 24): 20 or 30%
    Essay (One week after the end of classes): 25%
    Presentation (2014 schedule posted below): 25%

    The exams will mostly concentrate on higher levels of interpretation of the lecture material, such as comparisons and contrasting, as well as interpretations, analysis and synthesis, rather than listings of terms or regurgitation of facts.  Please see the Undergraduate Guide to Success for more information on what to expect in order to perform optimally on one of my exams.  See below for more information on the Essay and Presentations.


    Herrera, C.M. and O. Pellmyr. Plant-Animal Interactions, An Evolutionary Approach. Blackwell Publishing.

    Copies are available at the University bookstore, Agora and a number of online locations.

    The readings from this text are required for this course although some lecture material will come from elsewhere, particularly from the primary literature.


    The lecture notes follow the order and structure of the textbook, so students can get a head-start on their readings, as the lectures will be as follows:


    The goal of providing these notes is to allow students some relief from note-taking and permitting them to listen to and to better integrate the lecture material.  The slides notes are NOT complete, however, and students will be required to attend lectures and read the textbook in order to fill in the missing information.  Usually, the information contained on the slides relates to higher levels of organization in the learning process (context and interpretation), as opposed to simply learning lists and names.

    Additionally, I have provided lists of the Keywords of importance to the field of Plant-Animal Interactions.  You will be expected to understand and to be able to use each term of importance during your oral and written communications on these subjects.  Additionally, you may hopefully find the keyword lists to be useful during your studies to build concept maps to help you conceptualize the relationships during your studies, or simply to help you reconstruct the narrative surrounding the various case studies and principles we will be looking at over the term together.


    You will write a 5-page essay on the ecological and evolutionary context of a plant-animal interaction that interests you (double-spaced, 12pt font, no title page, including references, with any tables and figures as optional addenda, although they should not be necessary nor are they recommended).  This writing assignment is meant to be brief on the natural history component of your topic and to delve deeply into a specialized and technical form of literature review and scientific communication on the current state of research.  Furthermore, you are expected to focus the essay on the impact of your chosen interaction on an ecological and evolutionary outcome or consequence, as it relates to one of many themes in the course (such as speciation and the evolution and maintenance of biodiversity, generalized vs. specialized interactions, mutualistic vs. antagonistic associations, biochemical and phytochemical mediations of interactions, ecosystem engineering, or arms-race and leap-frog evolution, as examples).  References coming only from the primary literature will be permitted in the bibliography.  Please see the Undergraduate Guide to Success for more information on how to write a stellar scientific essay.  If you do not have a hard copy of the Student Guide, you may view the chapter on Essays here.  Please make sure that you familiarize yourself with the uOttawa guidelines on avoiding plagiarism (found here) in order to ensure that your work is original and does not constitute academic fraud.

    You will have to verify your essay topic with me by October 9, 2015 at the latest (10% penalty on essay grade otherwise), justified by at least two primary research articles published on the subject by different researchers.  All students are strongly advised to meet informally with me by early November to go over the essay subject matter, content and structure.  The final copy of the essay (in both electronic and paper formats) is due one week after the last day of classes (December 16th and there will be a 10% penalty per day on the essay grade if late) in order to allow you to incorporate additions or modifications based on questions or comments that may arise after the presentation (see below).


    The last portion of this course will be devoted to student presentations on the information contained in their essays.  You will be assigned by me into groups of 2 students based on commonalities between your respective essay topics and your assignment will be to work together to prepare a cohesive presentation, drawing from both of your research essays.  You will pick up where we left off in class and delve further in detail into case studies as they relate to the themes of the course (diversification, generalization vs. specialization, fitness effects etc.).

    These presentations will be given in the format of university lectures (not repeating what we will have already learned in the course to date) and will be of a duration of 15 minutes (plus time for questions).  You are highly advised to consult with me during the construction of your presentation on its structure and content. Please see the Undergraduate Guide to Success for more information on how to give effective scientific presentations.  If you wish only to consult the section on presentations, you can find the DOs and DON’Ts section here.  Students will be marked both by the class and the professor (weighted 40-60%, respectively), therefore attendance is mandatory and you will lose up to 10% of your mark for your own presentation by being absent during the others.  I have reserved the last 4-5 lecture sessions in order to run the student presentations.

    Please note that your essay may be marked partly on your ability to address questions that may have been raised during the presentation and to integrate them into its narrative (if applicable).  In some ways, you may consider the presentation as a ‘trial run’ to see how cohesive and comprehensive your topic thesis is.

    The presentation schedule is as follows.  You will need to submit a pdf and a copy of your powerpoint file on the first day of the student presentations, which will not be modified after that date, even if you are presenting on a later date.  This means that all talks must be ready to go on the first day of presentations!

    The evaluation form that we will be using the grade the group presentations can be found here in .pdf format.  Please refer to it in order to familarize yourself with the grading expectations.  Also, as you are going to be evaluating the presentations of your colleagues, you may print out copies for your own in-class evaluations (otherwise I will have some on-hand).

    You will submit your evaluation of your colleague’s presentations on paper at the end of the class.

    Presentation Schedule for 2014

    Friday November 27
    1- Specialized vs. generalized herbivory
    2- Evolutionary history of pollination syndromes
    3- Coevolutionary consequences of seed dispersal
    4- Coevolutionary consequences of herbivory
    Tuesday December 1
    1- Effects of phytochemistry on plant community structure
    2- Ecosystem and community effects from plant herbivores
    3- Hummingbird pollination systems
    4- Specialization vs. generalization in pitcher plants
    Friday December 4
    1-Evolutionary ecology of carnivorous plants
    2- Specialization vs. generalization in plant protection
    3- Sequestration and arms-race phytochemistry
    4- Specialized pollination systems
    Tuesday December 8
    1-Antogonisms vs. mutualisms
    2- Herbivory-related trade-offs
    3- Deceptive pollination systems
    4- Plant-mediated habitat selection by animals

    Want to hear what other students are saying anonymously about this course?  Below are some actual testimonials from the BIO4111 students of 2009:

    • The information presented was phenomenal and unlike any other class I have ever taken. The professor was excellent, funny, friendly, knowledgeable. I loved the evaluation format Essay + presentations were fun! Definitely keep this course!
    • Course was interesting. I learnt a lot in this class about the interactions between plants and animals and really like the idea of doing research essay on a plant-animal interaction as well as a presentation at the end of the class. Great class though, recommended! :o)
    • AWESOME! Always have loved your classes.
    • I’m really enjoying this course so far. The material is fascinating and your passion for the subject matter really shines through! Thank you!
    • Enjoying the communication aspect of this class which is underrated in many other courses.
    • Prof is very enthusiastic, this makes coming to class enjoyable. If it wasn’t at 8h30 in the morning, I would bring friends to the class so they can appreciate it as much as I do.
    • I liked having a paper to write and a presentation. The course well organized and well presented. I think it should be kept in as a regularly available course.
    • Adam Brown’s course website was very effective teaching tool. He was always available to discuss course matter, a dynamic professor.
    • Having no final exam was nice.
    • Very engaging teaching style – Good to do a paper and seminar on the same topic – more time for in-depth research.
    • Very interesting course material. Very closely followed the text book which was helpful. Overall a good course with a lot of potential.
    • Good teacher, keep it up! Should offer this class again.
    • Overall I really enjoyed this class. The class is a very well more organized. Good choice of book!
    • Good job, well organized and stimulating and aesthetically pleasing slides.
    • I enjoyed the always excavation of facts and that it gave a great idea of how these intricate systems work. – I liked the lecture style and the exam style. – Great organization and combination of fields.
    • Interesting material, focus on evolutionary aspects.
    • Professor Brown is an excellent teacher and portrays the info effectively. I would recommend this course to any of my friends.
    • Excellent course overall. Quantity of material was ideal. Well presented. Really enjoyed case studies and guest lectures.
    • Good course material and course sequence. Great marking scheme and evaluation process (2 midterms, presentation and essay).
    • Great professor, very enthusiastic and presents very interesting material (Cranberry case was awesome!)
    • Dr. Brown is organized and energetic, he makes class entertaining.
    • Course good, presentation and paper is excellent for 4th year class!! :o)


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