Wikipedia:WikiProject Science/Guidelines

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Proposed structure of articles[edit]

It has been proposed by members of this project that the first part of article be targeted to the general public, while the second part be targeted to the scientifically inclined. The recommended section headings are in bold below.

Note: please add {{WPStructure|PROJECT=Science}} at the beginning of the talk page if you use one of these structures.

Scientific object / concept[edit]

(a "What": temperature, atom, electric current, DNA, brain ...)

  • Introduction (with the major points, accessible to the general public)
    • What field / theory is the concept used in?
    • What other concepts is it related to, and how ?
    • How is it significant ? What does it help understand ?
    • Is it known to be incomplete or incorrect?
    • Are there any individuals who should be noted as primary theoreticians of the concept?
    • Pictures and diagrams are most helpful here
  • "What is <Concept> ?" (some sections below might not be relevant; avoid discussing how it works here)
    • Types / classifications of <Object/Concept>
    • Properties / capabilities of <Object/Concept>, with the range of values / behavior that can be observed, or significant values
    • Units of measure
  • "<Concept> and its environment"
    • <Object/Concept> in Nature / in the Universe / on Earth: where it can be found; since when; how it appeared naturally
    • <Object/Concept> in everyday life
    • <Object/Concept> in medicine: applications
    • <Object/Concept> in industry: applications
    • <Object/Concept> in culture
    • <Object/Concept> in religion
  • <Object/Concept> in the laboratory
    • Founding experiments / observations
    • Measurements / observations of each of the object's property / behavior
    • Use in the lab (to study other objects)
  • Theory of <Object/Concept>
    • Fields of study: descriptions of the fields that study the concept / object
    • Structure / anatomy: describe the sub-elements of the concepts, and the structures in which it takes part
    • How it works: describe how the theory explains the <concept / object> properties and capabilities
    • Current research: topics currently under investigation
  • History
    • Describe how the concept came about
    • Consider previous concepts, and their limitations.

Scientific theories and discoveries[edit]

(the "How it works")

  • Introduction: Explanation accessible to the general public.
    • What field is the theory/discovery in?
    • What other theories/discoveries is it related to, and how?
    • How is it significant? What does it help solve? What are its successes?
    • Is it known to be incomplete or incorrect? (Consider Newton's laws, relativity, quantum mechanics, etc.)
    • Are there competing contemporary schools of thought and/or individuals or groups who should be noted as primary architects or discoverers?
    • Pictures and diagrams are most helpful here
  • Theory
    • It's fine to add equations and supporting technical material here.
    • Full discussion of limitations, unsolved problems, and proposed replacement theories (or links thereto).
    • Current research: theoretical topics currently under investigation
  • Applications (avoid theory here)
    • In everyday life: What is the impact on everyday life?
    • In industry
    • Impact on society: What are the economic or political implications?
  • History
    • Founding experiments or observations: describe the major experiments or observations that are the basis for the theory
    • Consider making this a separate article for longer pieces, or making a common history article that several related theories/discoveries can use in common, rather than re-telling the same story over and over again.
    • Describe how the modern theory came about.
    • Consider previous theories, discoveries, and beliefs.
    • Consider the points raised by Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Scientific biographies[edit]

  • Introduction
    • birthdate, death, briefly what is this scientist best known for
  • Research? -some biographies would do better if Biography and Research are combined
    • Contributions to his or her field of study, major experiments and theories
  • Biography -chronological order of life history
    • Birthplace and early life
    • Where he/she was educated
    • Life outside of science (eg political activism, military service)
    • Positions held and awards
    • Cause and place of death
  • Bibliography
    • Do not include all papers, only major papers and books
  • References


Please consult other scientific WikiProjects for proposed structures for chemical elements, particles, space, chemistry, etc.

Nuvola filesystems www.png IUPAC Standard[edit]

In the interest of consistency and clarity the IUPAC standard should generally be used for chemical names in science articles. Alternative spellings and names should be referenced in addition, especially when dealing with regional issues and historical development.

The IUPAC currently recommends these spelling for element names:

  • Aluminium instead of aluminum
  • Caesium instead of cesium
  • Sulfur instead of sulphur

However, some exceptions apply, especially for more complex molecules that are better known by their common name. For a more detailed discussion of this topic, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Chemicals/Style guidelines#Title.



While not a key objective of this WikiProject, we propose the following guidelines when categorizing articles: