10.1.3: Writing Science - Take care of your readers
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Consider all the time you've spent reading textbooks, websites, and articles about chemistry, engineering and/or science; you know what it is like to be the READER of scientific writing.
To WRITE science, you must keep the reader in mind.
- WHO are your readers?
- WHAT are you trying to communicate to your readers?
- WHY should the reader be interested in what you are trying to communicate?
Envision Your Readers
The people who will use your MyMolecule articles are non-specialist readers with an understanding of basic chemistry. It helps to envision a specific person who you care about and who you would want to understand what you are writing. Think of someone who is smart, and someone who you respect, but who is not an expert (or even knowledgeable!) in the stuff you’ve been learning about (d-orbitals, metal-ligand interactions, biology).
- a classmate who has had organic chemistry, but not this class.
- any faculty member in the chemistry department regardless of sub-discipline (Dr. Feigl? Dr. Barstis?).
- a smart and geeky friend who is a Math/Physics/English/Hust major.
These people are smart, but they don’t know the technical stuff that you do. Therefore, limit your use of jargon, and explain or define all key terms and concepts that are specific to your sub-field (Bioinorganic chemistry) or topic (MyMolecule).