Article Review Guide

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Contents

Before you start

Volunteer portal

Please make sure that you have registered as a Let’s Talk Science volunteer on the Volunteer Portal and that you have submitted an online bibliography. Details are provided on the Getting Started page.

Smartsheet

Before you start reviewing articles, you will also need to sign up for a Smartsheet account at https://app.smartsheet.com/b/signup.

During the registration process, you may see references to a free trial period and upgrade fees. However these only apply if you create your own spreadsheets. There are no fees associated with working on spreadsheets created by Let’s Talk Science.

Once your registration is complete, email Steven Watt at swatt@letstalkscience.ca to get access to the appropriate spreadsheets.

About Let’s Talk Science and CurioCity

More than half of Canadian high school students opt out of taking senior-level science and math courses. Most teens recognize that STEM skills and knowledge are important to society in general. But they don’t think these subjects relate to their own lives and interests.

Let’s Talk Science hopes to change this through programs like CurioCity.

Created with the classroom in mind, CurioCity is a web-based program intended to be appealing to both educators and students. It connects students and teachers with the STEM community, while giving students a place to explore STEM issues.

One of the key ways CurioCIty achieves these goals is by publishing articles written by volunteer authors. By approaching interesting STEM-related topics in an original way that will capture the attention of teens, this content aims to show students in Grades 8-12 (Secondary II-V) see how STEM is relevant to them.

Articles published on CurioCity are supported by a range of other resources available to students and educators. For example, many articles feature Starting Points, a series of questions that help promote thought and discussion in the classroom.

As a content reviewer for CurioCity, your mission is to ensure articles are current, factual, well-written. and appropriate for the intended audience. Content review in an ongoing process that is critical to ensuring the quality of content published on CurioCity.

Logging your hours

All time contributed to reviewing and editing articles should be recorded. In particular, logging your activities and providing feedback allows us to:

  • Keep a record of your contribution to Let’s Talk Science and CurioCity so that we can share this information with you on request and incorporate it in any letters of reference.
  • Demonstrate to supporters and partners the time and effort that is contributed by our volunteers.
  • Better understand how we can improve the volunteering experience as well as our programs.
  • Share your contributions with your local Let’s Talk Science Outreach site (if applicable) so that you can receive recognition at the local level and contribute toward your site’s goals.

Please log your hours on the Let’s Talk Science Volunteer Portal: http://volunteer.letstalkscience.ca/ActivityLogging.aspx

Be sure to select Online when answering the the first question . Please email swatt@letstalkscience.ca if you run into any problems.

Reviewing articles

  1. Go to https://app.smartsheet.com/b/home?lx=eCd6KCf-c4KT09VwmRv4HA
  2. Select an article to review based on the following criteria:
  3. Mark the article as under review:
    • Change the Review Status from “Not Yet Reviewed” to “Under Review"
    • Add your name under “Reviewed by (Name)”
    • Add your email under “Reviewed by (Email)”
  4. Open the article by pointing your web browser to http://www.explorecuriocity.org/Content.aspx?ContentID=XXXX, where XXXX is the number in the “Content ID” column.
  5. Read the entire article before proceeding with your evaluation.
  6. If the article requires immediate removal because it contains offensive language or advice that could endanger someone’s health or safety, please email Steven Watt at swatt@letstalkscience.ca.
  7. If you have any suggestions for improving the article description, make changes directly in the “Description” column on Smartsheet and bold the text so we know the description has been changed.
  8. On CurioCity, on the right side of the light blue bar beneath the article’s header image, you should see a list of categories and tags associated with the article.
    • Review the categories listed and note any categories that you think should be added or removed in the “Categories to add or remove” column on Smartsheet. The seven categories used on CurioCity are:
      • Biology (non-human)
      • Chemistry
      • Earth & Environment
      • Engineering & Technology
      • Health & Human Body (including human biology)
      • Math & Physics
      • Social Sciences (intersections of STEM and other disciplines)
      • Nature of Science
    • Review the tags listed and note any tags that you think should be added or removed in the “Tags to add or remove” column on Smartsheet. A complete list of tags used on CurioCity is available in this document: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1riKxXjM4Epx9tYw8jj1z1V-h3YFlSJ852zU_P2JotPM/edit?usp=sharing (first two columns of the “English tags” tab. Articles should have a maximum of six tags and top-level tags should be prioritized over second-level tags.
    • On Smartsheet, please disregard the greyed-out columns with checkboxes below the names of categories.
  9. Evaluate the article by reviewing each of the criteria listed in the “Article review criteria” section below (Title, Date references, etc.). Each criterion corresponds to a column in the spreadsheet, where you can indicate if revisions are required. Please pay close attention to the instructions on what to look for and what actions to take.
    • If an article meets all criteria (all green dots), the review is complete.
      • Enter the date on which you completed the review in the “Last Reviewed (Date)” column.
      • Change the Review Status to Review Complete.
      • Log your hours. Our editing team will regularly check to see which articles have been reviewed.
    • If an article requires revisions (some red or yellow dots), use a Google document to share your comments and suggested changes.
      • See the “Commenting and editing in a Google document” section below for detailed instructions.
      • Once you’re done, enter the date on which you completed the review in the “Last Reviewed (Date)” column.
      • Change the Review Status to Review Complete.
      • Log your hours. Our editing team will regularly check to see which articles have been reviewed.

Article review criteria

SmartSheet Column

What to look for

What to do

Title

  • The title should be catchy but still reflect the content of the article. A person should know what the article is about by reading the title.
  • If the title is acceptable, select the green dot.
  • If there are problems with the title, select the red dot. Explain the problem in a comment or suggest an alternate title by editing the document (see the “Commenting and editing in a Google document” section below).
  • If you’re not sure, select the yellow dot.

Date references

  • The article should not refer to dates as recent, current or upcoming. For example. “During the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics…”, “This week, everybody is buzzing about the World Cup”, or “This summer, we’ll be seeing a rare lunar event.”
  • If there are no inappropriate date references, select the green dot.
  • If there are problems with date references, select the red dot. Explain the problem in a comment or suggest changes by editing the document (see the “Commenting and editing in a Google document” section below).
  • If you’re not sure, select the yellow dot.

Accuracy

  • The information presented in the article should be accurate. If there is misinformation in the article, either because it was originally incorrect or would now be considered incorrect based on more recent research, it will need to be corrected.
  • If the article is completely accurate, select the green dot.
  • If there are problems with the accuracy of the article, select the red dot. Explain the problem in a comment or suggest changes by editing the document (see the “Commenting and editing in a Google document” section below).
  • If you’re not sure, select the yellow dot.

Fast Facts (Did you know?)

  • Each article should contain at least two Fast Facts (“Did you know?”).
  • Fast Facts should be no more than two or three sentences long and provide interesting details that are related to the topic of your article but aren’t included in the article itself.
  • Fast Facts need to make sense on their own, since they won’t always appear directly alongside your article.
  • If the article includes at least two appropriate Fast Facts, select the green dot.
  • If the article is missing Fast Facts or they require rewording, select the red dot. Explain the problem in a comment or suggest changes by editing the document (see the “Commenting and editing in a Google document” section below).
  • If you’re not sure, select the yellow dot.

References

  • Enter a few different sentences from the article into a search engine to ensure entire sections are not copied word-for-word from somewhere else, including from the references provided.
  • Depending on when they were originally published, CurioCity articles may list references very differently or include no references at all.
  • Although the standards outlined in the current Writing Guide do not need to be retroactively applied to older articles, you should ensure that the following basic criteria are met:
    • The article should include at least three references that allow readers to learn more about the topic. This includes hyperlinked words and phrases in the main text, as well as references listed at the bottom of the article.
    • All major claims, facts and statistics should be traceable to at least one of the references.
    • Each reference should allow readers to easily locate or consult the corresponding document, normally by providing a link to a complete reference, an abstract, or the document itself.
  • If you find evidence of plagiarism, contact Steven Watt at swatt@letstalkscience.ca.
  • If there are at least three appropriate references; all major claims, facts and statistics presented are traceable to a reference; and references are presented in an appropriate manner, select the green dot.
  • If references are absent or outdated, or if the references are not presented in an appropriate manner, select the red dot. Please find and suggest new references to support the content of the article. This is the part of your review that will likely require the most work.
  • When adding new references in a Google document (see the “Commenting and editing in a Google document” section below), number the references and include parenthetical citations in the main text.
  • Please refer to the Writing Guide for further information on references and citations, including on how to format new references.

Hyperlinks

  • Verify that:
    • All hyperlinks are placed at appropriate locations in the document.
    • The link isn't "broken" (it actually leads to a web page or other document).
    • The link leads to the correct web page or document.
    • The content of the web page or document is relevant and appropriate.
  • If there are no issues with hyperlinks, select the green dot.
  • If a link is dead or it leads to outdated, irrelevant or inappropriate information, select the red dot. Note the problem in a comment and provide an updated or more appropriate link by editing the document (see the “Commenting and editing in a Google document” section below).
  • If you’re not sure, select the yellow dot.

Spelling and grammar

  • Articles should use Canadian spelling. For example: metre (not meter), centre (not center), colour (not color), tumour (not tumor).
  • Refer to Mohawk College's Canadian versus American Spelling Fact Sheet for a more extensive list of examples
  • If there are no errors in spelling and grammar, select the green dot.
  • If there are errors in spelling and grammar, select the red dot. You can identify errors in a comment or suggest corrections by editing the document (see the “Commenting and editing in a Google document” section below).
  • If you’re not sure, select the yellow dot.

Style and structure

  • You should be able to follow and understand the article on your first read through.
  • The article should begin with an introductory paragraph that piques the reader's interest for the general topic while letting them know what specific subjects will be discussed.
  • Subsequent paragraphs should each address a specific point, evoked in the introduction and leading toward the conclusion. The concluding paragraph should briefly sum up what has been said and, if appropriate, provide some suggestions for further investigation and discovery.
  • There should be appropriate use of titles, headings and paragraphs.
  • The article should cover the impact and implications of the topic at hand, without becoming an opinion piece.
  • If the style and structure of the article are appropriate, select the green dot.
  • If changes are needed to the style and structure, select the red dot. You can identify problems in a comment or suggest changes by editing the document (see the “Commenting and editing in a Google document” section below).
  • If you’re not sure, select the yellow dot.

Images

  • All images should be clear (not blurry or pixilated) and free from horizontal and vertical distortion.
  • If there are no issues with the images included with the article, select the green dot.
  • If there are issues with the images associated with the article, select a red dot. These issues will be addressed by a member of the editing team.
  • If you’re not sure, select the yellow dot.

Spacing

  • There should be no excessive spacing between paragraphs and only one space following a period.
  • If there are no issues with the spacing or general appearance of the text in the article, select the green dot.
  • If there are issues with the spacing in the article, select the red dot. These issues will be addressed by a member of the editing team.
  • If you’re not sure, select the yellow dot.

Readabilty

  • Copy and paste the main text of the article (exclude title and references) into the text box on the following site: http://www.readability-score.com/.
  • Refer to the right side of the screen for the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (the first score in the “Grade Levels” section. We are aiming for a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of 10 or less.
  • Enter the article’s Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level in the appropriate column. The cells will turn green, yellow or red depending on the value you enter.
  • The editing team will address address issues related to readability.

When you’re done reviewing all the criteria, don’t forget to return to the “Reviewing articles” section to complete the final steps!

Commenting and editing in a Google document

Follow these steps to create and share a Google document.

  1. If you don’t already have one, you can create a free Google account here.
  2. On the main Google Drive page, click on “NEW” → “Google Docs”
  3. Copy and paste the text of the article (including the title and references) from the CurioCity website into the Google document.
  4. Click on the current title (“Untitled Document”) and replace it with the title of the article.
  5. Click on “Comments” (grey box beside Share in the upper right corner), then select “Notifications” and “None”. Otherwise, you will receive emails every time an editor adds or changes a comment.
  6. To insert a comment, select the relevant text and choose “Insert” → “Comment”. Write your comment and click on the “Comment” button in the bubble.
  7. Suggest changes by editing the document directly. The editing team will be able to see exactly what you’ve changed using the document’s revision history.
  8. When all revisions are completed, click on the blue “Share” button in the upper right hand corner of the document.
    1. Click on “Get a shareable link” in the upper right hand corner of the “Share with others” window.
    2. In the “Anyone with the link” dropdown menu, select “can edit”.
    3. Copy the link provided and click “Done”.
    4. Paste the link into the SmartSheet in the “Google document link” column.