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The Craft of Writing

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5 Essentials for Effective Science Writing

Science Writing is one of the most exciting forms of writing because it provides an opportunity to bring readers into a space they may not normally consider. The challenge of sharing new ideas and scientific concepts without jargon and in approachable yet accurate language adds an interesting element to the writing process. So, what are the five most important tasks for science writers?

  1. Go back to the beginning: If your education is in the sciences, go back to the moment when science first took on its appeal. If your education is in the liberal arts, go back to the start of your exploration into this particular aspect of science. Either way, putting yourself back at the starting point puts you at the same point as your least informed reader.
  2. Leave out the jargon: It’s not going to help if you start telling your reader about monoclonal antibodies if they have no clue what any of that means. Neither does it help to explain with a lot of jargon and tech-talk.
  3. Simplify without dumbing down: Your reader is curious and willing to commit the time to reading what you have to say. Put it in terms that build the concept in steps so that, by the end of the piece, the reader is conversant with the concepts you’ve covered.
  4. Use examples from the everyday: Describe your concepts by using everything from Legos to breadmaking. The important thing is to create an experience the reader relates to.
  5. Bring it Home: Be sure to make it relevant by including real-world applications of the science so that your readers can see where it fits, and why it matters, in their lives.

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