Using the plant fossil record for future conservation efforts

Assessment will be through individual reports written in the style of scientific literature reviews of approximately 2000 words, excluding references. The report will assess the student’s skills to synthesise, evaluate and contrast new knowledge and to place conclusions into a wider context with appropriate scientific rigour.
The written review and critical analysis of the research material will be assessed on whether students have developed a coherent and understandable research-based review, have understood and effectively marshalled the theories and hypotheses which underlie their topics, have accurately portrayed the current scientific literature and cited appropriated sources and other “objective” criteria that measure the student’s success at the task of condensing a large body of information into an essay understandable by a scientifically literate audience.
Also, where appropriate, students should explore the implications of the research topics presented, the possible models/theories that are the basis for them and their deficiencies, weaknesses and/or gaps. In addition, students may also detail possible approaches for pursuing further research in each topic area.
The assessment of the assignments will include: organization of the essay, effectiveness at synthesising, evaluating and communicating complex scientific ideas and theories (use of figures/diagrams, use of metaphors), written delivery (sentences make sense, paragraphs are logical etc.), correctly use and formatting of references, etc. (see rubric)
The overall aims of the course are for the student to have:
• Gained a broad view of the current major issues in evolutionary biology and how they are being tackled by experts in the field.
• Advanced their skills for effectively summarising information and presenting key results and concepts via critical evaluation of the literature.
• Developed their skills in the design and execution of scientific literature review and the evaluation, synthesis and interpretation of results.

Literature Review Rubric (1) (1)
Literature Review Rubric (1) (1)
Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a learning outcomeOverall structure and flow of the essay
Does the essay follow a logical flow and is well-structured with appropriate use of headings and figures? Has the required word limit been adhered to?
2.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a learning outcomeIntroduction and overview of the literature
Does this section adequate introduce the subject area and outline the scope of the essay and the key questions being addressed as part of the review? Is the research topic placed in a broader context based on the literature presented?
5.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a learning outcomeDiscussion (including addressing any aims, questions and hypotheses relating to the topic being reviewed) and your own conclusions derived from this discussion.
Does the essay cite clear examples from the literature to support the arguments presented? Does the essay demonstrate independent thought and understanding of the field, including strengths and limitations?
5.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a learning outcomeReferences
Are references appropriate and from primary sources? Are all references cited in the essay with correct use of the specified reference formatting (in this case CSIRO)?
3.0 pts
Total points: 15.0

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