A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Scientific Communication

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1.
#26692

The Abductive Inference: An Effective Tool for Science Communication

Suggests that the interrelated skills of understanding and representing (re-presenting) the abductive inference (often neglected in technical and professional communication pedagogy) are critical for the scientific communicator vis-a -vis kairos, and that science communication instructors ought to develop a pedagogy that includes the instruction of this skill.

Graham, S. Scott. Orange Journal, The (2005). Articles>Scientific Communication>Rhetoric

2.
#18616

Academic Writing: Scientific Reports

This handout describes an organizational structure commonly used to report experimental research in many scientific disciplines, the IMRAD format: Introduction, Methods, Results, And Discussion. (This format is usually not used in reports describing other kinds of research, such as field or case studies, in which headings are more likely to differ according to discipline.) Although the main headings are standard for many scientific fields, details may vary; check with your instructor, or, if submitting an article to a journal, refer to the instructions to authors.

University of Wisconsin (2003). Articles>Scientific Communication>Reports

3.
#37487

Accessibility and Order: Crossing Borders in Child Abuse Forensic Reports   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Physicians write child abuse forensic reports for nonphysicians. We examined 73 forensic reports from a Canadian children's hospital for recurrent strategies geared toward making medical information accessible to nonmedical users; we also interviewed four report writers and five readers. These reports featured unique forensic inserts in addition to headings, lists, and parentheses, which are typical of physician letters for patients. We discuss implications of these strategies that must bridge the communities of medical, social, and legal practice.

Spafford, Marlee M., Catherine F. Schryer, Lorelei Lingard and Marcellina Mian. Technical Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Scientific Communication>Reports>Biomedical

4.
#29735

Adapting Technical Communication Core Skills to Navigate the Health Care System  (link broken)   (PDF)

Technical communicators gather data from subject-matter experts and then transform it into information that helps users accomplish tasks. In this workshop, we demonstrate how to adapt our expertise to effectively interact with health care professionals--to improve our understanding of the health care industry. By relying on our professional skills, we can successfully navigate the health care maze and effectively operate in the "foreign" environment of the doctor's office, hospital, and care facilities. And, in doing so, we will improve the quality of care we receive.

Isakson, Carol S. and Katherine Brennan Murphy. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Scientific Communication>Biomedical

5.
#20618

Advice for Beginning Science Writers  (link broken)

This document is the record of a discussion that took place on the nasw-talk mailing list from May 10th through May 14th, 1997. It deals with several issues at the core of the science writing profession.

NASW (2006). Careers>Scientific Communication

6.
#37458

Agency and the Rhetoric of Medicine: Biomedical Brain Scans and the Ontology of Fibromyalgia   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Recent agency scholarship has provided compelling accounts of how individuals can strategically occupy authoritative positions, in order to instantiate change. This article explores the discursive mechanisms of this type of agency in the legitimization of disease. Drawing on ethnographic research, this article investigates how a non-human agent (brain scans) contributed to fibromyalgia's acceptance within the highly regulated discourses of western biomedicine.

Graham, S. Scott. Technical Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Scientific Communication>Biomedical

7.
#20791

American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting

The AAAS Annual Meeting offers an interdisciplinary blend of more than 130 symposia, plenary and topical lectures; seminars on nanotechnology, vaccines and proteomics; the Forum for School Science; poster presentations; career fair; career workshops; and an exhibit hall.

AAAS. Academic>Conferences>Scientific Communication

8.
#32296

Amusing Titles in Scientific Journals and Article Citation   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The present study examines whether the use of humor in scientific article titles is associated with the number of citations an article receives. Four judges rated the degree of amusement and pleasantness of titles of articles published over 10 years (from 1985 to 1994) in two of the most prestigious journals in psychology, Psychological Bulletinand Psychological Review. We then examined the association between the levels of amusement and pleasantness and the article’s monthly citation average. The results show that, while the pleasantness rating was weakly associated with the number of citations, articles with highly amusing titles (2 standard deviations above average) received fewer citations. The negative association between amusing titles and subsequent citations cannot be attributed to differences in the title length and pleasantness, number of authors, year of publication, and article type (regular article vs comment). These findings are discussed in the context of the importance of titles for signalling an article’s content.

Sagi, Itay and Eldad Yechiam. Journal of Information Science (2008). Articles>Publishing>Research>Scientific Communication

9.
#20515

AMWA Journal  (link broken)

The AMWA Journal is the official publication of the American Medical Writers Association. Delivered quarterly to AMWA members and Journal subscribers, the AMWA Journal aims to be an authoritative, comprehensive source of information about the knowledge, skills, and opportunities in the field of biomedical communication worldwide.

AMWA. Articles>Scientific Communication>Biomedical

10.
#25773

AMWA Position Statement on the Contributions of Medical Writers to Scientific Publications   (PDF)

AMWA formed a new task force in 2001 to develop a statement regarding AMWA’s position on the contributions of biomedical communicators to scientific publications.

Hamilton, C.W. and M.G. Royer. Hamilton House (2003). Articles>Scientific Communication>Biomedical

11.
#34966

Analysis of the Behaviour of the Users of a Package of Electronic Journals in the Field of Chemistry   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The purpose of this research is to analyse the behaviour of the users of a package of electronic journals using the data of consumption per IP address. The paper analyses the data of consumption at the University of Barcelona of 31 electronic journals of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2003. Data of sessions, articles downloaded and abstracts viewed were analysed.

Borrego, Angel and Cristabal Urbano. Journal of Documentation (2007). Articles>Scientific Communication>User Centered Design

12.
#37010

An Analysis of the Public Scientific Literacy Study in China   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In March 2006, the State Council of the People's Republic of China issued "The Outline of the Action Plan for Improving Scientific Literacy for All (From 2006--2010 and then 2010--2020)" (the "Scientific Literacy Outline"), in which the official notion of scientific literacy named "Public Scientific Literacy in China" was put forward for the first time in the history of China. Subsequently, the program of "Study on Measurement Indicators of Scientific Literacy of Chinese Citizens and its Demonstration" was funded by the China Association for Science and Technology the following September. However, the notion as well as its measurement indicators still need more clarification. After reviewing some relevant literature and introducing the historical background to the concept of "Public Scientific Literacy in China" along with a detailed interpretation of its connotation, the authors do a closer examination of the measurement indicators established by the Research and Development Center for Science Communication at the University of Science and Technology of China, based on a systematical analysis of the sample surveys.

Chen, Fajun, Yumin Shi and Fei Xu. Public Understanding of Science (2009). Articles>Scientific Communication>Surveys>China

13.
#13839

"Aristotle's Pharmacy": The Medical Rhetoric of a Clinical Protocol in the Drug Development Process   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article analyzes the clinical protocol within the rhetorical framework of the drug development and approval process, identifying the constraints under which the protocol is written and the rhetorical form, argumentative strategies, and style needed to improve and teach the writing of this document.

Bell, Heather D., Kathleen A. Walch and Steven B. Katz. Technical Communication Quarterly (2000). Articles>Scientific Communication>Biomedical

14.
#36050

Assessing Excellence: Using Activity Theory to Understand Assessment Practices in Engineering Communication   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In the workplace, communication serves not as an end in itself, with features that are “good” or “bad,” but as a tool for mediating a range of professional activities, and effective documents are presentations are those that achieve their goals. Yet assessment methods in technical and professional communication often continue to rely on an evaluation of features apart from the intended work of the document. In this paper, we use activity theory as a lens to explore both the criteria for effective communication and the degree to which portfolio assessment methods can be applied to effectively assess student learning in this domain.

Paretti, Marie C. and Christine Bala Burgoyne. IEEE PCS (2009). Articles>Scientific Communication>Engineering>Assessment

15.
#29738

Assessing Information Needs of Diverse Users to Guide Web Design and Content Development   (PDF)

This paper presents a qualitative study of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's diverse users and their mental models regarding injury-related content. The study employed an innovative modified contextual inquiry method utilizing tailored, in-depth interviews with five distinct user groups. Included in this paper is a detailed description of the background, framework, and method used for this study. Analysis of the full results was still in process at the due date of this paper. The results will be in the presentation's slide set and available from the STC website www.stc.org.

Pettit Jones, Colleen and Susan J. Robinson. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Web Design>Scientific Communication>Biomedical

16.
#36929

Assessment of Slovene Secondary School Students' Attitudes to Biotechnology in Terms of Usefulness, Moral Acceptability and Risk Perception   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Quantitative and qualitative studies among 469 high school students of average age 17 years were conducted. The students’ attitudes to four practical applications of biotechnology were examined: genetically modified plants (Bt corn), genetically modified animals (salmon), and hemophilia germ line and somatic gene therapy. Each of the four applications was examined from three different viewpoints: usefulness, moral acceptability and risk perception. Bt corn production proved to be the most acceptable in terms of both usefulness and risk perception. Values for genetically modified salmon and germ line gene therapy were comparable, but much lower than those for the other two applications; this was true for both usefulness and moral acceptability. In addition, students found genetically modified salmon to be ethically much less acceptable than Bt corn. Significant gender differences were observed in the case of germ line gene therapy and genetically modified salmon.

Črne-Hladnik, Helena, Cirila Peklaj, Katarina Košmelj and Aleš Hladnik. Public Understanding of Science (2009). Articles>Scientific Communication>Biomedical>Eastern Europe

17.
#18430

Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology (ARST)

ARST was founded in 1992 with the hope of providing a forum for researchers and teachers in the area of the rhetoric of science and technology. Since then, ARST has hosted day-long conferences in conjunction with the annual meetings of National Communication Association (NCA). In addition, ARST acts as an interest group of NCA to host panels and papers within the conference itself. Originally called the American Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology, in November 2006 members voted unanimously to rename the organization to the Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology in order to better reflect the international nature of its membership and intellectual concerns.

ARST. Organizations>Rhetoric>Technology>Scientific Communication

18.
#14188

Association of British Science Writers: Members' E-Mail Directory

This page lists freelance and staff writers who have their own web pages. there is a separate page for members you can reach by email. Members: fill in this form to get into the directory.

ABSW. Resources>Directories>Scientific Communication>United Kingdom

19.
#14179

Association of British Science Writers: Members' Websites Directory

This page lists freelance and staff writers who have their own web pages. there is a separate page for members you can reach by email. Members: fill in this form to get into the directory.

ABSW. Resources>Directories>Scientific Communication>United Kingdom

20.
#18589

Authorship for Research Groups   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Major clinical research investigations, especially large multicenter trials, require the involvement, cooperation, and dedication of many individuals. Roles and responsibilities range from conceiving the study and designing the protocol to collecting and analyzing the data, and numerous essential steps in between. Following completion of the study, the most important responsibilities are prompt preparation of a manuscript that reports the study findings, and timely submission of the paper to a journal for peer review, publication, and communication of the study findings to the scientific and clinical communities. The number of collaborative studies and multicenter clinical trials seems to be growing, with increasing numbers of published articles involving a study group. For instance, 22% of the 185 research articles published in JAMA as Original Contributions in 2001 specifically identified a study group, compared with 6% of 172 Original Contributions published 10 years earlier. Authorship of these studies increasingly involves some indication of group participation and responsibility, reflecting the cooperative nature, multidisciplinary teamwork, and complexity of such investigations.

Flanagin, Annette, Phil B. Fontanarosa and Catherine D. DeAngelis. JAMA (2001). Articles>Scientific Communication>Collaboration

21.
#23556

Avenues to a Career in Scientific Communication  (link broken)   (PDF)

Scientific communication (SC) covers science, medicine, and technology. Its documentation format ranges from research papers and regulatory-agency submissions to educational/ training materials and reference guides. This panel discussion addresses issues for those entering the area of scientific communication or wishing to enhance their skills in this area.

Armbruster, David L., Nancy E. Davis, Alice L Philbin and Jim J. Walsh. STC Proceedings (1994). Careers>Scientific Communication

22.
#29740

Avoiding Disasters with Better Communication  (link broken)   (PDF)

Many of the memoranda and letters related to the Chicago flood, the Three Mile Island nuclear accident and the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters that warned of impending disasters went unheeded. The reason: the writers failed to properly use various rhetorical features and conventions. They failed to include necessary information, omitted unnecessary detail, placed important information in inappropriate locations, used qualifiers to reduce perceptions of the consequences of actions, and failed to follow organizational conventions related to transmission of information. Their lack of knowledge of rhetorical strategies exacerbated the problems associated with the contexts in which the various documents were written, resulting in misunderstandings.

Boiarsky, Carolyn. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Scientific Communication>Risk Communication

23.
#24908

Beginning to Edit Physics   (PDF)

A physicist-turned-editor shows you the basics required for copyediting physics papers (physical quantities, symbols, units, scientific notation, the structure of mathematical expressions, the nature of graphs), and points the way to learning enough 'editorial physics' to begin substantive editing.

Murphy, Peter W. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Editing>Scientific Communication

24.
#19370

Behind the Scenes of Scientific Debating

In analysing a scientific debate, there are at least two types of relevant information. One is the debate itself, experienced first hand or via a transcript. Another is what can be called backstage information, which includes the debaters’ preparations, plans, notes, thinking and reservoir of arguments and responses. Familiarity with backstage information can provide insights for understanding the dynamics of the debate. Often, the only individuals with much backstage information are the debaters themselves, plus perhaps one or two advisers or close friends. An observer of the debate seldom has access to backstage information. The next best thing, then, is generalisations based on backstage experience with debates of a similar nature.

Martin, Brian. University of Wollongong (2000). Articles>Scientific Communication>Rhetoric

25.
#36931

Believing in Both Genetic Determinism and Behavioral Action: A Materialist Framework and Implications   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

A disparity exists between studies reporting that genetics discourse produces deterministic or fatalistic responses and studies reporting that the majority of laypeople do not hold or adopt genetically deterministic views. This article reports data from an interview study (n = 50), and an interpretation of those data grounded in materialist understandings of discourse, that explains at least part of the disparity. The article employs a detailed reading of an illustrative transcript embedded in a quantitative content analysis to suggest that laypeople have incorporated two sets of public discourses—one that describes genetic causation and another that describes behavioral causation. These different discourse tracks are presumed to be encoded in different sets of neural networks in people’s minds. Consequently, each track can be articulated upon proper cueing, but the tracks are not related to each other to produce a discourse for speaking about gene—behavior interactions. Implications for the effects of this mode of instantiation of discourse in human individuals with regard to genes and behavior are discussed, as well as implications for message design.

Condit, Celeste M., Marita Gronnvoll, Jamie Landau, Lijiang Shen, Lanelle Wright and Tina M. Harris. Public Understanding of Science (2009). Articles>Scientific Communication>Biomedical

 
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