|Plant Taxonomy (BIOL308) - Stephen G. Saupe, Ph.D.; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.employees.csbsju.edu/ssaupe/|
Dichotomous Key Writing - Checklist
Does the key.........
q start each couplet with a noun?
q avoid unnecessary words?
q avoid negatives?
q avoid trichotomies?
q use "absent" vs. "not present"?
q quantify when possible?
q have couplets that refer to the same feature?
q have couplets that include all of the potential variations in the feature?
q have mutually exclusive statements in each couplet?
q remember that keys are for identification and not designed to show evolutionary relationships (i.e., keys are "artificial") thus, don't worry about maintaining "natural" groupings?
q avoid vague terms?
q rely on features from the same season?
q avoid the use of taxonomic names (i.e., plant a gymnosperm)?
q use obvious features and avoid obscure or highly technical ones?
q use fixed features, avoid highly variable ones?
q start with the most distinctive features?
q have n -1 couplets?
08/20/2007 / � Copyright by SG