Science writing conveys scientific and technical information in plain language for an audience of non-scientists. There are many places you will find science writing such as magazines (National Geographic, Nature and Science Magazine), press releases, presentations and company websites.

Some scientists may be hesitant towards having their science research written in plain language. However, there are many benefits to writing science for a non-science audience, especially in the digital age where audiences expect easy to understand writing.

Is science writing important?

Yes. It’s important to make science accessible for all audiences. Scientists need to be able to convey their research and findings to many such as policy makers and investors.

Good science relies on good writing. If a scientist is unable to communicate their findings due to technical aspects, or inaccessibility to an audience, then the amazing work they have accomplished may be overlooked as too complicated.

How to write science well

There are many aspects to think about when writing science for a non-science audience. Below we’ve compiled a few characteristics that are key to communicating science well. 

  • Understand your audience

Think about who you are writing for, in most cases your science writing will have more than one audience. Understanding who your audience is and their expectations will help outline your style of writing such as length and language level. For example, you wouldn’t write the same way for a magazine article as you would for a social media post.

  • Be clear

It is important to convey your meaning with absolute clarity in a way that will be easily understood by any reader, regardless of whether they have a background in sciences. By being clear, your writing will also increase the impact of your message and make the information more memorable overall.

  • Ensure accuracy

Before you start your writing – make sure you are clear on the key points you wish to convey.  Making sure your work is accurate is the number one important aspect of science writing. It is imperative that your message is accurately reporting the facts from the scientist. If you are unsure, ask. The scientist will be grateful you are taking the time to understand their information.

  • Be neutral 

Be objective in your writing. Avoid making assumptions, using unproven facts and choose words carefully when making comparisons. Unknowingly, you may be writing your own personal opinion about the topic or create a bias from your word selection. A good tip is to have a colleague read your article and point out any issues they may see.

Additional Resources To Help with Science Writing:

In conclusion, I hope we were able to answer your question: what is science writing? If you’re looking for further help, we’re here for you. The Canadian Centre for Science Communication has a team of senior science writers and experts that can help answer your questions. Connect with us today.