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How to Become an Effective Science Communicator

 Science writing aims to communicate information based on scientific evidence. And, as such, this information should be the main focus of the content...

For many decades, development communication practitioners have acted as ‘alternative’ science communicators’ to foster change among people, to promote political and economic change and to encourage civic action.  For this reason, development communication practitioners have the need to learn and master science writing to communicate research results, innovations and new technologies to promote change to the target audience. 

Science writing is diverse from other types of writing such as creative writing, journalism, copywriting and even personal communication and the likes. For example, the main objective of creative writing is to describe a story focusing on the narrative craft and character development, using a succession of words to enrich the development of the story. Science writing, on the other hand, aims to communicate information based on scientific evidence. And, as such, this information should be the main focus of the content. Thus, there is no need to enrich this information with unnecessary words.

The following is a list of important things to consider in science writing:

. Write for the Audience

It is important to identify the target audience before starting to think of writing, outlining, and how the message should be relayed. With the audience in mind, it is more easier to define the type of vocabulary to use, vocabulary that should be compatible with the background of the target audience. For instance, there is no use to introduce jargon when the intended audience is the lay people. Instead, it is necessary to try to tell the story using only terms that are familiar to the target audience. It is also vital to provide the information the way the lay people talk. This will make it easier for them to relate to the problems being addressed by the research and, eventually, to understand how it can affect their lives.

. Clear and Concise to be Highly Readable

The information to be relayed is the focus of science writing. And it is the responsibility of science writers to communicate this information accurately to the intended audience and no more. For this reason, it is vital to be clear and concise to be highly readable. Being clear and concise means avoiding verbose, flowery and repetitive expressions that may only confuse and irritate readers, and, worst of all, may make the target audience lose interest.

. Use Paragraph to Express an Idea

A paragraph is important in writing any kind of prose. A paragraph is a unit of writing in a larger body of work and, therefore, should always contain a topic, and, a paragraph should embrace only the related thoughts and words that involve that specific topic.  It is, therefore, crucial to omit needless words or ideas not relevant to the topic that is being covered in a specific paragraph.

. Refrain Using Sophisticated Vocabulary

Science writers should always keep in mind that their main objective is to communicate and not to impress the audience with sophisticated vocabulary. Redundancies, therefore, should not be part of science writing, since most readers are busy people who have no patience in time consuming essays. So, information should be relayed by using the fewest number of words possible.

As a conclusion, development communication practitioners should remember that science writing is distinct from other types of writing. Development communicators who are tasked to provide information based on reports and researches in the field of science should always bear in mind that the type of audience determines the vocabulary, depth and scope of the essay. Science writing aims to communicate information based on scientific evidence. For this reason, writers should avoid flowery, verbose and unnecessary words that may only obscure the main message.



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