ERIC Number: ED463957
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Learning To Write Like a Scientist.
Florence, Marilyn K.; Yore, Larry D.
This multiple case study examined the co-authorship process in two research laboratories of different university science departments. The study focused on five writing teams, one in Biochemistry and Microbiology and four in Earth and Ocean Sciences. The role of the researcher supervisor, the role of the student (graduate and post-graduate), the interaction of the supervisor and the student, the activities and processes inherent in the co-authorship process, and the student's expertise, scientific writing, and entry into an academic discourse community were documented. Multiple sources of data and methods were used to document the activities and processes in the co-authoring of research reports; the alignment between the students' and their research supervisor's beliefs about writing; and whether co-authorship helps the student become an expert science writer. Participants were given a questionnaire to ascertain their respective background experiences in science and their beliefs about science writing and followed through the five-month drafting process of a research report manuscript. Meetings between research supervisors and students were observed and audio-taped, and field notes and reflective notes were taken. Edited drafts, including research supervisor's suggestions and students' responses, were collected. During their writing or soon thereafter, students were given part two of the questionnaire to establish the methods they used when they wrote. Finally, the participants were asked to reflect on their co-authoring experiences and to suggest any other activities that would aid students (research supervisors' response) or themselves (students' response) in becoming proficient science writers. Several activities and processes were found to be common across all co-authorship teams, including aspects of planning, drafting, and revising. Habits of mind, beliefs about the nature of science, and abilities to communicate the big ideas of science were evident in these activities and processes. Elements of scientific and writing expertise, facets of enculturation into scientific research and discourse communities, academic civility, and the dynamics of collaborative groups also were apparent. Audience and journal selection were surpassed in importance only by the writers' perceptions of the rigor of their scientific claims. Graduate and post-graduate students' beliefs about science and the role of science writing agreed with those of their graduate supervisors. There was healthy tension and mutual respect in the research groups as they attempted to make sense of science, report their results clearly and persuasively, and shared the responsibilities of expertise. The findings of this study indicate that co-authoring a research report is an authentic and meaningful learning experience that helps students learn to write like scientists. (Contains 70 references.) (Author/MM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A