Chem 347 Mini Report: A Journal-Style Letter using the Organic Letters
The mini report will be written in the style of an Organic Letters journal article. You will use a
template (available on Webcampus) to prepare a professional-looking paper. You can write your
paper directly into the template (containing the appropriate fonts, font sizes, etc) or you can apply
the template to a prepared document. Instructions can be found in the template file.
A sample article is on Webcampus for reference. As you can tell from the sample paper, technical
writing is quite different than literary writing. The best technical papers are written in a concise
and informative style, giving readers the necessary information, but omitting unnecessary
information or phrases. Short, declarative sentences are often used as they are easy to write,
easy to read and are usually clear. Pay attention to appropriate verb tenses: use the past tense
when describing work that has already been done and the present tense for statements of fact.
Either tense is acceptable for results and discussion and conclusions section.
A scientific article typically includes the sections below:
Title (include this)
The title should reflect the subject matter of the article. Be brief, but informative. For example,
“Synthesis and Activity of a New Generation of Ruthenium-Based Olefin Metathesis Catalysts
Coordinated with 1,3-Dimesityl-4,5-dihydroimidazol-2-ylidene Ligands” tells anyone casually
reading the Table of Contents that this article is about the development of a new series of
metathesis catalysts and gives the reader an idea of the catalysts’ structure.
List of Authors (include this)
In the sample article, this is Matthias Scholl, Sheng Ding, Choon Woo Lee and Robert H. Grubbs.
Generally, the list of authors includes anyone who made a significant contribution to the work. In
many cases, the first author is the person who made the most important contribution and/or who
wrote the paper. The asterisked author is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the project, the
professor in charge of the work and the person to whom questions should be addressed. You
should put your name* first then list the members of your group (the coworkers who contributed to
Affiliation (include this)
This tells where the work was performed, e.g. at Cal Tech for the sample paper. For you, this
would be “Department of Chemistry, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, Nevada 89557.”
Email (include this)
This tells the reader how to contact the person in charge of the work. Put your email address
Received Date (include this)
This is the date on which the manuscript was received by the journal. For this assignment, you
should type in the due date for your paper.
Abstract (include this)
The abstract should include a brief announcement of the take-away message of your work. A few
sentences about your results should suffice. Include information such as the identity and % yield
of your product. You may add a figure showing the reaction you carried out.
Body of the article (see details below)
For this mini report assignment, you will focus only on the experimental section and results and
discussion. (You will have the opportunity to work on writing an introduction in the formal report
on olefin metathesis.)
Experimental (include 1 paragraph each for the diamine resolution and salen ligand formation)
Experimental details are typically found in the Supporting Information of a letter, but are included
in the body of a journal article. For this assignment, you should include a short experimental
section in your paper. You should describe how you synthesized, purified and characterized the
product. Your experimental will be much less detailed than the lab handout and should be written
in the past tense because the work has already been performed. You should provide enough
detail so that an experienced chemist could reproduce your work, but you should assume that the
reader is familiar with common organic lab techniques.
A few sample sentences (from a different experiment) are:
1 mmol of diethyl diallylmalonate was added to a 25 mL round-bottomed flask and was dissolved
in 5 mL of dichloromethane. 2.5 mole percent of Grubbs catalyst and a small stir bar were added.
The flask was loosely capped and stirred overnight at room temperature…
The experimental details were modified from a procedure in Organic Syntheses. You should add
the following reference to your mini report.
Larrow, J.F.; Jacobsen, E.N. Organic Syntheses, Vol. 75; Wiley: New York, 1998; pp 1-11.
In general, you should reference the literature anytime you compare to a literature value (e.g.
melting point or specific rotation from Larrow and Jacobsen’s Organic Syntheses paper), refer to
a reported experimental procedure, or anytime you use someone else’s words or ideas.
References should be numbered sequentially in the order in which they appear. You only need to
list papers once in the reference section. If you cite a reference, e.g reference 1, more than once,
use the same number throughout your paper, i.e. you would refer to reference 1 every time you
discuss that article. Details on the American Chemical Society (ACS) format can be found in the
ACS Style Guide (available at the reserve desk of De La Mare library). A summary can be found
The most common type of publication cited is a journal article. The format is as follows:
Author, A. A.; Author, B. B.; Author, C. C. Jounal Abbreviation Year, Volume, pp.
Scholl, M.; Ding, S.; Lee, C. W.; Grubbs, R. H. Org. Lett. 1999, 1, 953-956.
Reaction Scheme (include this)
For the mini report, you will replicate the following scheme using ChemDraw or another chemical
drawing software package. Part of your in-lab time will be devoted to instruction in how to use
ChemDraw. UNR has a site license for ChemDraw, and you can download it on your own device
if you have a unr email address (nevada.unr.edu email addresses work. The link is:
Alternatively, ChemDraw is available on The DataWorks server at:
Hint: Before drawing anything, apply the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) drawing settings
found at: File Apply Document Settings from ACS Document 1996
Replicate the following scheme.
Results and Discussion (include 1-2 paragraphs)
This section includes both your results (e.g. optical rotation) and a discussion about what the
results tell you (e.g. % ee, was the product all/mostly a single enantiomer). You should refer to
the reaction scheme within your discussion.
Address the following questions/topics in your discussion:
• How did you purify the diamine-tartrate salt and the salen product?
• What were your % yields
• What techniques (i.e. NMR, IR, polarimetry) did you use to characterize the products, and
what results did you obtain from these experiments?
• Do your data support the identity of your product? Did you see a characteristic stretch in
the IR that indicated presence of the product?
• What was the calculated specific rotation, and what was the calculated % ee?
• How effective was the resolution? Refer to the % ee.
The end of the body of the article will contain a brief conclusion statement (usually 1-2
sentences). This summary and conclusion will reemphasize the main point of the article and
detail what was learned from the experiments.
Acknowledgments (you do not need this section)
This is a place to mention anyone who contributed to the work, but was not listed as an author.
Someone who performed preliminary experiments, provided chemicals, or who participated in
helpful discussions could be listed in the acknowledgment section. Funding agencies that
provided monetary support for the project are also typically listed here.
Supporting Information (you do not need this section)
For a “letter” or “communication”-style paper, the experimental details can be found online in the