UWP 104E

Writing in the Professions: Science

  1. Catalog Description

    UWP 104E. Writing in the Professions: Science (4) Lecture/discussion -3 hours ; extensive writing. Prerequisite: course 1 or English 3 or the equivalent and upper division standing or enrollment in a graduate science curriculum. Writing abstracts, research proposals, scientific papers, other forms of scientific communication. Presenting data graphically. Primarily for students engaged in or planning careers in basic or applied research. GE credit: Wrt (cannot be used to satisfy a college or university composition requirement and GE writing experience simultaneously). -I, II, III (I, II, III.)

  2. Course Goals
  • To teach students the logical thinking underlying the major genres of scientific writing (abstracts, proposals, and journal articles) and to introduce students to the general principles of writing scientific arguments
  • To introduce students to the rhetorical principles underlying the standard formats for the major genres of scientific writing
  • To teach students strategies for adapting standard formats to their own needs
  • To teach students the rhetorical principles underlying effective scientific style
  • To teach students the conventions of writing in the sciences, such as maintaining objectivity, using jargon, using the passive voice appropriately, handling equations, and integrating graphics into the text
  • To teach students to distinguish between good and bad scientific style
  • To strengthen students' ability to organize, draft, and revise their own work
  1. Entry Level

    Students should have completed UWP 1 or ENL 3 or the equivalent and have upper division or graduate standing in a science curriculum. Students should also be engaged in or planning careers in basic or applied research. They should be familiar with the general principles of good writing, including organization, development, sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation.

  2. Topical Outline
  • The nature of scientific writing; the scientific paper as argument
  • Writing proposals
    • Kinds of proposals
    • Standard formats for proposals
    • Strategies for making the proposal persuasive
  • Writing lab reports, project reports, and journal articles
    • Standard formats for research reports
    • Principles of structuring the report
    • Strategies for presenting data logically and persuasively
  • Writing abstracts
    • Kinds of abstracts; structuring the abstract
    • Strategies for making the abstract concise, specific, and detailed   
  • The principles of scientific style
    • Maintaining objectivity
    • Using jargon
    • Presenting equations
  • Rhetorical principles and conventions of presenting data graphically
  • Documenting the scientific paper
  • Presenting scientific material to a lay audience
  1. Criteria for Grading
  1. The course will be graded by a letter grade. The previous Scientific Writing course, English 104, was graded pass/not pass. This change will make the course grading consistent with other courses within the option.
  2. Grades will be based on the students performance on in- and out-of-class writing assignments and on a final exam. Students will write a minimum of 6000 words; the number of assignments and the weight of each assignment will vary according to the instructor. All sections, however, will require students to write a journal article or project report, a proposal, and an abstract; at least one of these assignments will require integrating text with graphics. Instructors will choose remaining assignments from among the following: oral reports, review papers, an article on a scientific subject directed toward a lay audience, or similar project related to scientific research.
  1. Reading

    The usual textbook is Robert O. Day, Writing and Publishing a Scientific Paper or similar text focusing on scientific writing. The instructors will also assign abstracts, journal articles, technical reports, and other publications in the students' fields of interest.

  2. Explanation of Potential Course Overlap

    UWP 104E does not overlap with any other course. UWP 104E is distinguished from UWP 101, Advanced Composition, by its focus on scientific writing and the genre of the scientific report. UWP 104E is distinguished from UWP 104A, Writing in the Professions: Business Reports and Technical Communication, by its emphasis on writing in which the primary purpose is to contribute to knowledge through proposing research or conveying research results rather than on functional writing, writing for specific work-related audiences who will need to use the report in order to carry on their work.

  3. Justification of Units

    UWP 104E is a four-unit course. Three hours per week is lecture/discussion. An additional unit of credit is justified by the significant amount of work that students must do outside of class time to plan, draft, and revise the 6000 words of required writing. (The written amount is equivalent to a term paper.) In addition to this substantial written requirement, students will meet individually with the instructor for discussion and evaluation of their work.