University of Technology Sydney

60109 Professional Science Document Writing

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Science
Credit points: 2 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

When communicated well, science can inspire, create debate, and spark discussion that drives science to have a greater presence in society. Science document writing encompasses a wide scope including documents such as patient information sheets provided with medications, government policy documents, to clinical trial applications and scientific publications. These can change public perception, educate, and drive policy change. It is therefore essential that all kinds of scientists have the capability to explain their work to others, and to make their science open and accessible to the public. Being able to communicate science effectively, in a variety of formats, is an essential skill of the modern scientist. Science communication itself is a burgeoning arm of science, with employers of science graduates commonly stating that the most essential skill they look for in a potential employee is excellent communication skills.

The aim of this subject is to develop written communication skills in a variety of practical applications. This subject develops and enhances students' written skills including creating convincing 'calls to action' and using the correct style, tone, grammar and referencing.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Consider and explain the importance of writing as a professional skill for all scientists
2. Translate scientific information effectively to a range of audiences in a variety of written formats
3. Demonstrate clear and effective written communication using correct academic referencing

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of following course intended learning outcomes:

  • Analyse: Engage in work practices that demonstrate an understanding of health and safety requirements, ethical conduct, risk management, and organisation and collaborative skills, record keeping in the context of medical biotechnology. (3.1)
  • Evaluate: Design, construct, collaborate and execute appropriately-judged professional solutions to complex biotechnology problems incorporating a regard for, and understanding of, intellectual property. (3.3)
  • Analyse: research and reflect the value, integrity, and relevance of multiple sources of information to derive innovative solutions to complex global medical and health problems. (4.1)
  • Synthesise: Present and Communicate complex ideas and justifications in a rigorous, effective and professional manner across all mediums to a range of audiences using appropriate media. (5.2)
  • Evaluate: Judge the use of appropriate interpersonal communication skills with peers, industry representatives, government, and members of the public. (5.3)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The Faculty of Science has six graduate attributes that you will develop during your course at UTS.

This subject is intended to assess the following attributes:

Graduate Attribute 3.0: Professional, ethical, and social responsibility

The learning activities in this subject will give you the capacity to work ethically and professionally using technical, practical, and collaborative Medical Biotechnology skills within the context of the workplace, and apply these to meet the current and future needs of society. You will be evaluated on effective and consistent contribution to these over the course of the session.

As a professional scientist, you are expected to communicate science widely and comment on current topics of interest. You are likely to address a wide range of target groups of readers and/or audience of quite different scientific background who will not understand the jargon that is unique to your discipline. You will learn when to use different modes of written communication in different professional settings, and how to effectively identify the relevant audiences.

Plagiarism is unacceptable at any level of science communication and it must not be committed by an ethical scientist, therefore an ethical, professional attitude is strongly emphasised in this subject.

Graduate Attribute 4.0: Reflection, Innovation, Creativity

As a professional scientist, you are expected to work autonomously and to reflect on your professional practice continually. In undertaking your postgraduate studies, you are enhancing your reflective skills as you undertake self-directed learning. These skills encompass the ability to survey the literature, synthesise your understandings and justify your findings in writing.

Graduate Attribute 5.0: Communication

To enhance your written communication skills as a postgraduate student in science you will examine a range of styles and modes used in professional scientific writing. You will also explore the various forms of communication delivered by peers, supervisors and other professionals and the reporting of science in the media, and those commonly found in professional science workplaces. Your assessment tasks focus on practising the various communication modes. Online exercises will also build your competence in academic English expression appropriate for a professional scientist so that you write clearly, grammatically correctly and effectively for the target reader or audience. In addition, as a professional scientist you are expected to be interested in and to keep up to date with current science news - to help you develop this, you will be expected to contribute comments to the discussed articles and written documents on Canvas (the online learning platform).

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject will be delivered online and you will be able to work at your own pace through the content. All of the material will be delivered to you using the online learning platform Canvas. The subject is designed to engage you using active learning and will feature videos, quizzes and other interactive media to allow you to further broaden your knowledge of the topic. You will be provided with relevant and current examples of scientific professional writing and be encouraged to compare and contrast these examples to others areas of science that you may be interested in.

The content will be delivered in four content areas which will each focus on a different style of professional science writing; media releases, blogs, and policy briefings. You will be assessed by a quiz at the end of each content area and will receive instant feedback to allow you to further hone your skills before completing the final assessment. You will also have the chance to connect with your peers using the discussion board and ask and answer each other’s questions to further deepen your knowledge.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Contribution to Discussion Boards and Written Reflection

Intent:

The following graduate attributes are assessed in this task:

3.0: Professional, ethical, and social responsibility
5.0: Communication

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

2 and 3

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

3.3, 5.2 and 5.3

Type: Reflection
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%
Length:

30 minutes each.

Criteria:

Thoughtful participation in discussion boards indicating you are critically developing your thoughts in regard to a specific topic.

Assessment task 2: Multiple Choice, Short Answer Quizzes

Intent:

The following graduate attributes are assessed in this task:

3.0: Professional, ethical, and social responsibility

4.0: Reflection, Innovation, Creativity

5.0: Communication

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

2 and 3

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

3.1, 4.1 and 5.2

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%
Length:

30 minutes each.

Criteria:

Correct responses to multiple choice questions and demonstration of comprehension, critical thinking in short answer responses.

Assessment task 3: Policy briefing

Intent:

The following graduate attributes are assessed in this task:

3.0: Professional, ethical, and social responsibility
5.0: Communication

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2 and 3

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

3.3, 5.2 and 5.3

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Length:

Three A4 pages (including any diagrams and references).

Criteria:

Your policy briefing will be assessed on content, format, grammar, sentence structure and
referencing and application of correct structure and style of writing. A rubric will be provided to you in Canvas.

Your report will be no more than three A4 pages and you can resubmit your proposal after receiving feedback and this may improve your grade.

Minimum requirements

In assessment task 3, Submit your own Policy Briefing, worth 50% of the overall assessment, you are required to obtain at least
40% of the possible marks for that task, in order to pass the subject. If a mark of 40% or more in not achieved,
a fail grade (X) may be awarded for this subject, regardless of an aggregate mark of 50% or greater for the
subject, overall.