Course Information


  • Number: ENGL 485
  • Title: Writing About Science
  • Term: Fall 2018


  • Name: Andrew Pilsch
  • Contact:
  • Office Hours & Locations:
    • , MWF 1:30-2:30 LAAH 417

Course Description

This independent study will answer the question “How do we write about science?”


Assignment Values

Assignment Due Date Value
Weekly Discussion Prompts Weekly 10%
Science Reporting Project 10/10 20%
Data Narrative 11/07 30%
Data Visualization Project 12/05 40%

Assignment Descriptions

Weekly Discussion Prompts

Students are responsible for bringing at least one question, topic, quote, or other idea to use in initiating the conversation each week.

Science Reporting Project

Translate a recent scientific paper into a popular format (newspaper, blog, video, etc) that careful explains the work, situates it within the context of the scientific conversation, and even-handedly speculates on the possible implications of the research and discoveries.

Data Narrative

Find a data set (possibly from Use that data set to tell a story about a place, group of people, or other phenomenon.

Possible examples:

  • Use demographics data to tell the story of a neighborhood’s gentrification
  • Use historic rainfall data to track changing climate patterns in the American Southwest

Additionally, produce a short response paper detailing the limits of the data and how you navigated around them or worked with them to further tell your story.

Data Visualization Project

Using one of the tools we have discussed, build a data visualization to accompany your narrative from the previous assignment.

Other Ideas

From this syllabus:

  • Scientific Poster
  • Message Box
  • Press Release
  • Elevator Speech
  • 3-Minute Thesis Competition Script
  • Audio/Visual Media project (Final Presentation)
  • One Additional Communication Project – Possible options: “letter to the editor,” op-ed for an organization’s newsletter (conservation group, botanical garden, aquarium, zoo, etc.), teaching & learning activity, blog post, public lecture


To Buy

Available For Free