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Science Communication: Writing, Editing, Reviewing and Presenting the Language of Science

This course is no longer being offered.

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Course Description

Do you see science or medicine in your future? Two of the greatest challenges facing budding scientists/physicians are to learn the unique language of science and how to effectively communicate with peers. This course introduces essential skills necessary for any science major or pre-med student, emphasizing the language of science and how information is disseminated. Students who complete this course will be prepared for immediate integration into laboratories in basic and clinical science, and be better suited to excel in college as well as later in their careers.

The focus of the course is on communicating scientific ideas smoothly and effectively both orally and in writing. Ironically, not many scientists or physicians are good at this because these professionals never really practiced communicating their thoughts. In this course, you will learn how to formulate your scientific ideas and persuade others by the merits of your argument. Science, like many other fields, has its own unique language. Mastering that language is a necessary skill for any potential scientist or physician. So how do you feel about getting a head start at articulating your points clearly and concisely?

This course will introduce students to the tips and tricks that make learning science possible, such as using PubMed to find papers, to find grant opportunities, or learning how different journals use different styles to have the highest impact. The course will further develop the students’ abilities to read, write, present, and critically analyze scientific data (particularly biological/medical), skills that are, unfortunately, not stressed at any level of education (including graduate school), but are nonetheless essential for success that is measured in publications and grant dollars. The course will combine library and open-source resources, along with particular emphasis on reading/writing/critiquing primary scientific literature. Students will be introduced to potential extramural funding sources (even for motivated undergraduates!) and the art of scientific presentation, poster presentations, illustration, and digital presentation. The course culminates with the compilation of students’ work into a single, professional-looking publication that highlights the skills and styles they have acquired.

This course will present six unique skills that every scientist must master:

  1. The ability to find and cite scientific literature;
  2. The ability to read and write primary literature and reviews;
  3. The ability to locate and take advantage of appropriate funding opportunities;
  4. The ability to present data;
  5. The ability to review and edit scientific literature;
  6. The ability to publish.

Each skill builds on the other skills so that mastering one requires building mastery for the others.

There are no prerequisites for this course, but a strong interest or some background in the subject material is expected.

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