Success in all professional endeavors requires clear, effective, and persuasive communication in both written and verbal forms. This course helps students identify key components of writing and speaking in terms of proper grammar, syntax, and organization, and focuses on the application of these components in academic and specifically in science communication.
The term begins with a brief review of methods to read science literature effectively and synthesize it in support of novel research questions or hypotheses. For the next several weeks students will develop their proposals as we discuss topics of structure, argumentation, audience, and tone (different for a proposal than for a published paper). Editing and peer-review both in and out of class will be used to build skills in recognizing logical, convincing writing.
The remainder of the course (~40%) will focus on verbal communication of science in three formats: formal seminars or conference presentations, where students will present a formal talk to the class at the end of the academic term; informal small group discussions such as job interviews, stakeholder meetings, or oral prelim exams; and outreach to the public or managers such as in lectures or media broadcasts.
The text for the class is Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.
Admission preference will be given to EEB Ph.D. students in their second year or above. The course is designed to be practical for graduate students at the stage of developing research ideas and writing proposals or presenting seminars.
The course has one 1-hour lecture period and one 2-hour discussion period per week.