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Instructions to Authors

We would like to encourage you to sit in other talks while attending either the Regional Competition or State Competition.

A. Organization of Manuscripts
  1. General organization - The subsections should include:

  2. a) Abstract, b) Introduction, c) Methods (or Experimental Procedures), d) Results, e) Discussion, f) Acknowledgments, if any, and g) References.  Note the Results may be combined with the Discussion (Results and Discussion).

  3. The title should be short, clear, and informative; it should not exceed two printed lines and should include the name of the organism, compound, process, system, enzyme, etc., that is the major object of the study.

  4. Spell out either the first or second given name of each author.  For example, Otis C. Dermer, instead of O.C. Dermer, or H. Olin Spivey, instead of H.O. Spivey. This will aid in easier, precise identification of an individual.

  5. Every paper must begin with a brief abstract (up to 200 words) that presents clearly the plan, procedure, and significant results of the investigation.  The Abstract should be understandable alone, since it is often used by abstracting journals.

  6. The Introduction should state the purpose of the investigation and the relationship with other work in the same field. It should include pertinent work, but not be an extensive review of literature.

  7. The Methods (or Experimental Procedures) section should be brief, but adequate for repetition of the work by a qualified experimenter.  References to previously published procedures can reduce the length of this section.  Refer to the original description of a procedure and describe any modifications.  This section should be a written description of the methods and steps followed while conducting the research or experiment, not simply a list of materials (Note this methods section is presented differently than the format used by ISEF science fair).

  8. The Results may be presented in tables and/or figures, but many observations can be set forth directly in the text along with the appropriate experimental values.he Discussion section should deal with an interpretation of the Results and how these observations fit with the results of others.  Sometimes the combination of Results and Discussion can give a clearer, more compact presentation.

  9. The Conclusions may summarize and should emphasize the meaningful findings of the research.

  10. Altogether, the Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusions should not exceed 8 pages.

  11. Acknowledgments of financial support and other aid are to be included.

  12. References should be cited in text using the last name(s) of the author and publication year.  For example, "The methods used have been described previously (Smith 2005)" or “The methods used has been described previously by Smith (2005)”.  If there citation has more than three authors, use only the first author’s, followed by the italicized phrase “et al.”  For example, "The methods used have been described previously (Smith et al. 2005)".  The full reference should be listed in alphabetical order and written as described later in these instructions.

Use the bibliographic style and formats shown below.

Do not abbreviate journal titles – write out the entire name of the journal to avoid confusion.

If it is necessary to refer to a manuscript that has been accepted for publication elsewhere, but is not yet published, the format shown below should be used, with the volume and page numbers absent. The words "in press" should be substituted for the year the citation was published.

Responsibility for the accuracy of bibliographic references rests entirely with the author; confirm all references through comparison of the final draft of the manuscript with the original publications.

Any mention of "manuscript in preparation", "unpublished experiments", and "personal communication" should be in parenthesis.  Use of "personal communication" should be with permission of the communicator, and should be entered in text, not in the Reference list.

References should be in these formats, following this style. Please Note: no space between author's initials; comma following the journal title; no space in the volume-page number string: 78(2):146-151.  For more examples, see the most recent edition (6th or later) of the CBE Manual.

Standard Article:

Miller, L.F. 1954. Fishing in the tailwaters of the TVS dams. Progressive Fish-Culture, 16:3-9.

Ortenburger, A.I. and Hubbs, C.L. 1927. A report on the fishes of Oklahoma, with descriptions of new genera and species. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, 6:123-141.

Anonymous Author(s):

[Anonymous]. 1976. Epidemiology for primary health care. International Journal of Epidemiology, 5:224-225. 

Books with Author(s):

Zar, J.H. 1984.  Biostatistical analyzes. 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs (NJ): Prentice-Hall. 718 p.

Miller, R.J. and Robison, H.W. 1980. The fishes of Oklahoma. Stillwater (OK): Oklahoma State University Press. 246 p.

Book with Editors:

Gilman, A.G., Rall, T.W., Nies, A.S., and Taylor, P., editors. 1990. The pharmacological basis of therapeutics. 8th ed. New York: Pergamon. 1811 p.

Chapter in Book with Editors:

Hamilton, K., Combs, D.L., and Randolph, J.C. 1985. Sportfishing changes related to hydropower generation and non-generation in the tailwater of Keystone Reservoir, Oklahoma. In: Olsen, F.W., White, R.G., and Hamre, R.H., editors. Proceedings of the symposium on small hydropower and fisheries.  Bethesda (MD): American Fisheries Society. p. 145-152.

Book with Organization as Author: 

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Physical Chemistry Division. 1993.Quantities, units, and symbols in physical chemistry. 3rd ed. Oxford (UK): Blackwell Science. 166 p.


Integrated taxonomic information system on-line data base, 2001. [on-line]. Available from: http://www.itis.usda.gov. (Accessed July 5, 2001).

United States Department of Agriculture, National Resources Conservation Service, 2002. The PLANTS database. Version 3.5. [on-line]. Available from: http://plants.usda.gov. Baton Rouge (LA): National Plant Data Center, 70874-4490 USA. (Accessed  July 2002- September 2003).


Knapp, M.M. 1985. Effects of exploitation on crappie in a new reservoir [M.Sc. thesis]. Stillwater (OK): Oklahoma State University. 84 p. Available from: Oklahoma State University Library.

Bennett, J.E. 1965. The MIKER technique [Ph.D. thesis]. Stillwater (OK): Oklahoma State University.  114 p. Available from: University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI: insert microfilm ID number.

B. Form and Style of Manuscript

Type the abstract, text, and acknowledgements of the manuscript double-spaced throughout, preferably with 12-point Times New Roman (or similar).  Use this type including references, tables, footnotes, and figure legends. Begin each of the following on a new page:

  1. Title, author(s), complete name of institution school (complete mailing address).
  2. Abstract.
  3. Text of manuscript (NOTE: THIS IS NOT TO EXCEED 8 PAGES!!!).
  4. Acknowledgments, if any.
  5. References.
  6. Tables and Figures, in sequential order.

C. Tables

Tables are concise compilations of data (words, numbers, symbols) arranged in horizontal rows and vertical columns to facilitate comparison and contrast.  The format and structure of tables should be simple and well organized so that trends and relationships can easily be recognized. A table should be complete; i.e., the title, headings, and footnotes should make the material understandable without reference to the text (unless a detailed method is given in the).  Data in a table should be pertinent, meaningful, and accurate.

If data can be described in one or two sentences in the text, please present them there instead of in a table. If all the values within a column or row are the same, present such values in the text, or in the title of the table or in a footnote to it. Footnotes to a table are referenced by superscript, lower-case letters: a-z.

Each column should carry an appropriate heading that describes what is found in the column. The units of measure should be clearly indicated. Powers-of-10 multipliers are frequently useful in column headings, but care must be taken not to confuse the readers. See Section H (Physical Quantities, Units, and Symbols) for instructions on the proper format for column headings.

Several computer programs are now available to aid in construction of tables. Some are within word processing programs, some are database programs, and others stand alone.

Checklist for Table Preparation

  1. Have all data been verified and proofread for accuracy?
  2. Are all the tables necessary? Is the same information already presented in the text? If so, which presentation is simpler and clearer?
  3. Are the data grouped logically? Are all values that are needed for comparison included in the same table? Can information in several tables be combined?
  4. Are the style elements of the tables and formats consistent with the text and with each other?
  5. Are the tables as simple, brief, and clear as possible? Can any elements be eliminated, combined, simplified, or placed in a footnote? Is there too much information in one table?
  6. Are the significant figures shown? Are the powers and units clear?

D. Figures

Figures include drawings, photographs, maps, flow (process, organizational) charts, graphs, and computer graphics.

Each figure should have a legend, a brief caption that identifies and describes the illustration with omission of only the obvious.  The legend should contain the title of the figure and any explanatory material, but the title or legend should not appear within the figure itself.  As with tables, sufficient experimental detail should be given in the legend to make the figure intelligible.  A composite of related figures often saves space and improves comparisons.

Checklist for Graph Construction

Clarity of presentation:
  1. Make sure the data stands out visually.
  2. Provide clear, unambigous axis labels
  3. Avoid putting notes, key, markers in the data region .
Clarity of understanding:
  1. Explain clearly any error bars.
  2. Proofread graphs and verify correctness of data.
  1. Select an appropriate range; add tick marks judiciously.
  2. Use as much of the data area as possible.
  3. Do not insist on including zero on a scale.
  4. Use scale breaks only when absolutely necessary.



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