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Science and the Media
Write a short essay in which you summarize a popular media reporting on a scientific study related to environmental science. Your essay should summarize the popular media article, its relationship to the discipline of Environmental Science, and how this specific topic is relevant to local issues and interests.
How to find an article? Popular media outlets, particularly those on the internet, are an excellent source of articles for this assignment. If you are having trouble, consider
searching the phrase “scientists report” on website such as www.cnn.com, www.npr.org, and www.sciencedaily.com. Our local media outlets and your social media feeds may also be sources of these articles. NOTE: You will also need the scientific journal article described by the popular media article – please keep this in mind as you select an article. Be sure you have enough information to locate the scientific publication.
Guidance for writing your text. As you draft your essay, keep the following items in mind:
1. I strongly suggest you complete your writing in a word processor (e.g., MS Word) to help with spelling and grammar check.
2. Essay content
a. Your essay must clearly present the article for your peer reviewers, so they can read it. You must begin by listing the:
i. Title (of the article you found online)
ii. Author (of the article you found online)
iii. Source (e.g., New York Times, Popular Mechanics, Slate.com)
iv. Web address to full article text
b. Your writing assignment should include paragraphs focused on:
i. A summary of the popular media article, including key methods and findings, and why this article relates to to Environmental Science as a discipline
ii. A description of how the conclusions can be applied in your daily life.
iii. Does the study apply the scientific method? Include a summary of the methods or study design, and a clear statement of how the scientific method was or was not applied.
iv. Based on the popular media article alone, do you believe the scientific findings are well represented? Explain why or why not. How does this change, if at all, after reading the scientific article?
v. Compare and contrast your understanding of the results from reading the scientific journal article and the popular media article. Comment on how well the conclusions of the study were presented in the popular media article previously read, citing specific examples.
vi. Comment on how accessible the scientific content is to the average reader. Is this good for our society? Why or why not? What are some potential consequences of the gap between popular media and scientific writing.
3. Writing style
a. Your essay should be no more than about 1.5 pages (preferably 1 page or less!) of single-spaced text in the default format of word processing programs. Length is not important; completeness is.
b. The first sentence should introduce the subject of the entire essay
c. Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence
d. No sentences should be copied directly from the article
e. The essay should be well-organized and follow a logical progression
f. The essay should be written in the third-person
g. The essay should not contain errors in grammar and spelling (e.g., run-on sentences, sentence fragments, subject-verb disagreements)
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