J.M. Fernández Novell1, C. Zaragoza Domenech2

1University of Barcelona (SPAIN)
2Institut Obert de Catalunya (SPAIN)
The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at the University of Barcelona started, many years ago, several initiatives such as “I love Biochemistry” and “Crazy about Biochemistry” to provide opportunities for talented biochemistry and science students. Theoretical explanations, scientific lectures, laboratory experiments and discussions help them to imagine the real world of research, which could be their future. With our system for identifying talented students we can detect general and specific abilities as well as creativity in the candidates.

Our teaching experiences, as secondary school and university teachers, suggest that an effective way to consolidate and integrate the scientific knowledge students receive is to write and present some chemistry and biochemistry works following the same rules as those for a scientific manuscript. There is growing interest among science teachers to include “writing a scientific paper” as an active education approach. A science paper/manuscript should be written in a clear and concise style, its paragraphs should be logical and consistent, and its information should be well organized.

Talented students review principles of effective writing, see examples of good and bad writing and also get tips to make the writing process easier (practical instruction on how to edit, clarity in communication, setting standards for scientific writing in journals and reflection on their own writing). Then, students work on the title, abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, conclusion, acknowledgements and references of their scientific argument.

Finally, talented students were asked whether this activity can contribute to improving biochemistry knowledge and they concluded that it is a helpful contribution for their science knowledge and they also recognized that they become more successful, competent, and secure in writing science papers. Therefore we strongly believe that introducing “writing a scientific paper” is a skill that every science student at secondary school and university must learn.