What should I know before I study this Unit?

It will be a really good idea if you have a good understanding of the topics you’ll be researching in more depth for this unit. Also, a good understanding of analysis and presentation techniques would be great too.


 

What will I be studying in this Unit?


In a nutshell you will be studying the following areas:


How the media reports scientific issues through different media such as TV, radio, papers and journals for the general public as well as people working in the scientific community.


You will need to consider how and if the various media:


Engages and informs the viewer, and how it does this

You’ll need to consider if the media:


  • provides a well-balanced approach to the issue
  • informs adequately
  • encourages an appreciation of different viewpoints and a greater understanding of the issue

You’ll need to develop a critical appreciation of the work of others (including journalists, presenters, researcher etc) in the field of scientific journalism and communication


As an activity you’ll be asked to write two articles on either an environmental issue such as obesity or a scientific application such as cloning.


The articles should be written with your intended audience in mind; one article should be written for the general public and the second for the scientific community.


You’ll be asked to justify the content and presentation of your articles. In particular, you should think about how:


  • the use of language: how it affects your audience. (for example, articles written for the general public should be written in lay-man’s terms as they will not have a great understanding of scientific terms).
  • how your argument is presented: is it well-balanced? Does it encourage further thought?

How long will this Unit take to study?


On average you’ll be looking at 60 hours of teaching and independent research time.


What topics will I be studying in this Unit?


Topic 1: Variety of media


In this topic you will study:


  • The variety of media used to present scientific issues and ideas

  • How to analyze the impact of the media, its accuracy and reliability


Topic 2: The ethical considerations of research


In this topic you will study:


  • the ethical issues surrounding different types of research

  • how ethics form are put together and submitted


Topic 3: Independent work


In this topic you will be expected to:


  • demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of scientific communication through independent project work


What can I do to get the best out of this Unit?


If you’re really serious about getting the best out this Unit and are prepared to put some extra time in on your own, it would be great if you could do some of the following:


  • Get together and organise a visit to a local laboratory for a demonstration of the technical equipment used for research methods


Where can I find some more information on this Unit?


Past Papers





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