Writing Science in the Twenty-First Century
  • Publication Date: August 8, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554813049 / 1554813042
  • 344 pages; 6" x 9"

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Writing Science in the Twenty-First Century

  • Publication Date: August 8, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554813049 / 1554813042
  • 344 pages; 6" x 9"

Writing Science in the Twenty-First Century offers guidance to help writers succeed in a broad range of writing tasks and purposes in science and other STEM fields. Concise and current, the book takes most of its examples and lessons from scientific fields such as the life sciences, chemistry, physics, and geology, but some examples are taken from mathematics and engineering. The book emphasizes building confidence and rhetorical expertise in fields where diverse audiences, high ethical stakes, and multiple modes of presentation provide unique writing challenges. Using a systematic approach—assessing purpose, audience, order of information, tone, evidence, and graphics—it gives readers a clear road map to becoming accurate, persuasive, and rhetorically savvy writers.


“In Writing Science in the Twenty-First Century, Christopher Thaiss combines rhetorical and process approaches to instruct readers in the constantly evolving art of scientific writing. Thaiss’s rhetorical focus also informs the helpful exercises guiding students through the recursive and interactive writing process he promotes. Emphasizing the growing pre-eminence of digital and multimodal writing, Thaiss includes lively chapters on texts as generically diverse as the traditional journal article, Twitter postings, and online infographics. For each of these genres, Thaiss analyzes professional models to show students exactly how writers achieve rhetorical effects like ‘audience splitting’ and ethos building. He extends this granular analysis to each section, teaching readers effectively how to make persuasive, ethical scientific arguments. With its conversational, coach-like tone, the book will be accessible for any undergraduate.” — Leslie Bruce, WAC Director, California State University, Fullerton

“Science communication in the twenty-first century requires a sophisticated repertoire of rhetorical strategies in order to communicate with diverse audiences across a variety of genres and media. Thaiss deploys the 2000-year-old tradition of rhetoric in discussions of familiar and emerging genres. Covering the scientific research article, abstracts, and other well-established genres, he provides a strong foundational text for students of science communication. For the twenty-first century, the proliferation of science-focused blogs, tweets, and even infographics provides a good introduction to how science is communicated online. Writing Science in the Twenty-First Century packages the explanatory power of rhetoric in a manner digestible for those new to the field, showing the importance of purpose, audience, style, ethics, and other foundational rhetorical principles.” — Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher, University of Waterloo


INTRODUCTION : Writing Science for New Readers, with New Technologies, in New Genres

ONE : Writing to Reach Readers

TWO : Building Experience and Confidence in Writing Science

THREE : “Writing” Redefined Multimodally

FOUR : Writing Science Ethically

FIVE : Writing the Research Article, Part I: Abstract, Introduction, and Methods and Materials

SIX : Writing the Research Article, Part II: Results and Discussion

SEVEN : Writing the Research Review

EIGHT : STEM Journalism—Writing, Reading, and Connecting with Broader Audiences

NINE : Science Blogs—New Readers, New Voices, New Tools

TEN : Creating Posters and Infographics

ELEVEN : Creating Oral-Visual Presentations

TWELVE : Writing Science with Style and Styles

THIRTEEN : Editing Sentences

Reference List
Permissions Acknowledgments

Christopher Thaiss is Professor Emeritus of Writing Studies in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis.

  • — Emphasizes building writing confidence—for both beginning writers and more experienced students and scientists
  • — The book’s tone is encouraging and straightforward—never patronizing or oversimplified
  • Systematic rhetorical approach allows readers to break down their analysis of texts and of their own writing
  • — Filled with many real examples of popular and academic science writing
  • Exercises throughout give readers hands-on practice in rhetorical analysis, revision, peer review, and editing

Online Materials for Students

A companion website for Writing Science in the Twenty-First Century can be found here.

The site provides

  • — Links to the full articles cited in the book so that readers can access the full text
  • — Self-test quizzes for each chapter
  • — Concise chapter outlines to aid in study
  • — Additional resources for writing in STEM disciplines

Online Materials for Instructors

This text has a companion site with resources for instructors. The instructor site can be found here.

The site provides

  • — a detailed sample syllabus
  • — chapter outlines
  • — quizzes for each chapter
  • — an extensive guide to best practices in teaching writing to STEM students

To read a sample of Writing Science in the Twenty-First Century, click here. (Opens as a PDF.)

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