Undergraduate science students' attitude toward and approaches to scientific reading and writing

Heather Verkade, Saw Hoon Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Reading the literature is a critical part of being a scientist. Consequently, primary literature is currently being used in under- graduate teaching across the world. The primary literature can be daunting to undergraduates, and they may use strategies to avoid the deep reading and interpretation techniques that are used by an expert. In this study ; a cohort of final-year undergraduate science students were surveyed to examine whether they fully read journal articles, including whether they seek to understand how the results support the conclusions. Their writing was also examined to see if they use deep or surface approaches to scientific writing. The majority of the students in this cohort report that they read the results in journal articles and show deep learning approaches by the Biggs revised Study Process Questionnaire (rSPQ), but they were very mixed in their approaches to writing. In future studies, approaches will be introduced to better train and encourage students in how to write in a scientific style.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83
Number of pages89
JournalJournal of College Science Teaching
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Undergraduate students
  • Scientific attitudes
  • Science process skills
  • Scientifc research
  • Journal articles
  • Critical reading
  • technical writing
  • Content area writing
  • Knowledge level
  • Comprehension

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