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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Stephen J. Polyak
PABIO 581
Seattle Campus

Current Literature in Pathobiology

Develops skills in analyzing data and assessing conclusions through an analysis of current literature in pathobiology. Focuses on breadth and analytical skills. Prerequisite: enrollment in the pathobiology graduate program.

Class description

How to critically read and analyze scientific papers.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Each week, we will discuss 1 paper in depth. The class will be divided into groups of 3-4 students. Each week we will have each group present a different part of the paper, such as introduction, rationale, methods, figures, etc. By the first class, we will have selected papers for the first few weeks of classes, and will take suggestions for papers for the remaining classes as required. Papers should be chosen to appeal to a wide variety of interests, and cannot come from a student’s primary discipline. Everyone is expected to read the papers and join in the discussion – if things lag, I will call on you for contributions! So please come prepared to discuss.

Recommended preparation

Read the assigned paper in detail and prepare to discuss any part of the manuscript.

Class assignments and grading

Points of discussion for the papers: 1. Is there a hypothesis? If so, what is it? Is the area of research significant and to whom (general scientific audience, specialists, subspecialists?). 2. Originality. 3. Validity of approach. 4. Quality of data and experimental techniques (be specific). 5. Soundness of conclusions. 6. Thoroughness -- should more have been done? 7. What comes next? 8. Overall ranking compared with other papers.

This course is credit/no credit. Everyone is expected to attend all sessions and to participate in discussions. If for some reason you are unable to attend, please contact me in advance. Students who miss more than one class will receive no credit, unless there are exceptional circumstances.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Stephen J. Polyak
Date: 09/23/2005