At approximately 1:30 in the afternoon on February 11, 2004, Gene
Sparling spotted a large black and white woodpecker while kayaking on
a rural bayou in Monroe County, Arkansas. The notes he posted to his
website about the sighting caught the attention of Tim Gallagher and
Bobby Harrison, two university researchers, and triggered a year-long
research effort that resulted in the publication of a peer-reviewed
paper in the journal Science. The link below gives free access
to this research article. To learn more about scientific writing,
including how research papers are organized, how they are reviewed,
and how they contribute to our understanding of the scientific world,
read the article and then try the exercise below.
Fitzpatrick et al. (2005) “Ivory-billed
Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) Persists in Continental North
If you are a registered teacher with the Visionlearning web site,
you may access a teacher discussion guide by clicking
- Indicate where in the article the Introduction section ends and
the Materials and Methods section begins and explain why you choose
this point in the article.
- Indicate where in the article the Materials and Methods section
ends and the Results section begins and explain why you choose this
point in the article.
- Indicate where in the article the Results section ends and the
Discussion section begins and explain why you choose this point in
To learn more about the ivory-billed woodpecker, visit the
Ivory-Billed Woodpecker page at the Cornell Lab of
- What is the hypothesis proposed by the authors of the article?
- Quality scientific research commonly includes a discussion of a
“null” hypothesis, an alternative hypothesis that may be true if the
main hypothesis proves incorrect.
- What is the null hypothesis in this article with respect to the
- What evidence do the researchers present to support their
- How is the data presented graphically and how do these visual
representations help the interpretation of the article?
- Is the hypothesis presented in the research article now a proven