Mini-Review Paper

Mini-Review Paper
Once your virus is selected, you need to choose some aspect of the virus’ life cycle to investigate. For example, you may decide to study how the virus gets into the cell. You may need to do some more research on your virus to see what is out there before deciding what specifically you want to study. Note: START EARLY!!! You may have to inter-library loan some articles, so you can’t wait until the last minute. I no longer hold subscriptions to the major virology journals, so I can’t get the articles for you. The PubMed database ( is the easiest way to review papers before getting them because you can read all abstracts for free (and then many of the papers are open access, so you can download immediately).

Once your virus and life-cycle topic are chosen, you will need to find 10 peer-reviewed primary journal articles published within the last 5 years about the topic you have chosen. You may choose to include some review papers (secondary journal articles), but these are in addition to the 10 primary articles (not in place of). The 10 articles must all focus on your specific topic (as per the example, they would all have something to do with viral entry into the host cell). You will want to include background information on the virus (where it is found, how transmitted, diseases, etc.), but this can be obtained from Viral Zone, the CDC, etc. The 10 articles must then be analyzed and synthesized into a review article on the topic (e.g., you will use primary journal articles as the source material to write a secondary review article that describes the current state of research on the topic). The review paper must be a minimum of 10 written pages (excluding cover page, reference list, etc.) in 12 point font, double-spaced, and 1 inch margins all the way around. Students will be held to high standards of grammatical accuracy, so make sure you proofread your writing. You may include figures, but they must be clear, well footnoted as to source, have good figure legends, and be referred to in the text (figures can be inserted in the text or put on their own pages; they do not count as part of your written pages). The papers must be integrated to tell a cohesive story of the topic – you are NOT writing a paragraph summary of each paper strung together with no integration. If you write that type of paper, you will receive a failing grade.

Class Presentation
From the 10 primary journal articles you gather for the mini-review paper, you will select ONE paper to present to the class. Your paper must be approved by me before presentation. We will set up an email list and you will email your paper to the class 1 week before your presentation so that we can read it. We will run this like a journal club, which means that you will give no more than a 20-25 minute presentation on the paper and we will then discuss it (the audience can ask questions and/or we will talk about different aspects of the paper and what it means in context of the class). You will need to craft a PowerPoint presentation of your talk, which you will also turn in to me as part of your grade. You will be evaluated by me and your peers (peer review sheets will be handed out). Which paper you pick to present will ultimately be up to you (even though I want to approve it), but you will do best picking the most interesting paper of the 10 you are working with so as to convey that enthusiasm to us.

What goes into the presentation? Some sort of introduction (what the virus is, where it is found, does it cause human illness, etc.), an overview of the life cycle, where your focus is, the core of the paper (what was the research question, what was the hypothesis, what experiments were run and why, a focus on the results and what they mean), how the paper fits into the overall understanding of the life cycle, how your research fits into the context of the class, and future directions of the research (where do you think the research needs to go?).

What does the audience do? Listen, ask questions, and evaluate the presentation. You are expected to read the papers prior to the presentations so you can actively participate in the discussion.

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