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Enhancing Scientific Communication Through an Undergraduate Biology and Journalism Partnership

    Author: Johanna M. Schwingel1
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY 14778
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1445
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    Abstract:

    Scientific terminology presents an obstacle to effective communication with nonscientific audiences. To overcome this obstacle, biology majors in a general microbiology elective completed a project involving two different audiences: a scientific audience of their peers and a general, nonscientific audience. First, students presented an overview of a primary research paper and the significance of its findings to a general, nonscientific audience in an elevator-type talk. This was followed by a peer interview with a student in a journalism course, in which the biology students needed to comprehend the article to effectively communicate it to the journalism students, and the journalism students needed to ask questions about an unfamiliar, technical topic. Next, the biology students wrote a summary of their article for a scientific audience. Finally, the students presented a figure from the article to their peers in a scientific, Bio-Minute format. The biology-journalism partnership allowed biology students to develop their ability to communicate scientific information and journalism students their ability to ask appropriate questions and establish a base of knowledge from which to write.

References & Citations

1. Brechman JM, Lee CJ, Cappella JN2009Lost in translation? A comparison of cancer-genetics reporting in the press release and its subsequent coverage in lay pressSci Commun3045347410.1177/1075547009332649255686114283841 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1075547009332649
2. Brownell SE, Price JV, Steinman L2013Science communication to the general public: why we need to teach undergraduate and graduate students this skill as part of their formal scientific trainingJ Undergrad Neurosci Educ12E6E10243193993852879
3. Seiler A, Knee A, Shaaban R, Bryson C, Paadam J, Harvey R, Igarashi S, LaChance C, Benjamin E, Lagu T2017Physician communication coaching effects on patient experiencePLOS One12e018029410.1371/journal.pone.0180294286788725497987 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180294
4. Sibille K, Greene A, Bush JP2010Preparing physicians for the 21st century: targeting communication skills and the promotion of health behavior changeAnn Behav Sci Med Educ1671310.1007/BF03355111221875183242004 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF03355111
5. Likens GE2010The role of science in decision making: does evidence-based science drive environmental policy?Frontiers Ecol Environ8e1e910.1890/090132 http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/090132
6. Renaud J, Squier C, Larsen S2006Integration of a communicating science module into an advanced chemistry laboratory courseJ Chem Educ831029103110.1021/ed083p1029 http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ed083p1029

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2018-03-30
2018-06-23

Abstract:

Scientific terminology presents an obstacle to effective communication with nonscientific audiences. To overcome this obstacle, biology majors in a general microbiology elective completed a project involving two different audiences: a scientific audience of their peers and a general, nonscientific audience. First, students presented an overview of a primary research paper and the significance of its findings to a general, nonscientific audience in an elevator-type talk. This was followed by a peer interview with a student in a journalism course, in which the biology students needed to comprehend the article to effectively communicate it to the journalism students, and the journalism students needed to ask questions about an unfamiliar, technical topic. Next, the biology students wrote a summary of their article for a scientific audience. Finally, the students presented a figure from the article to their peers in a scientific, Bio-Minute format. The biology-journalism partnership allowed biology students to develop their ability to communicate scientific information and journalism students their ability to ask appropriate questions and establish a base of knowledge from which to write.

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