• University of Leeds

Discovering Science: Science Writing

What science discoveries will you choose to write about?

35,630 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    5 hours
  • Accreditation

    AvailableMore info

By recording experiments and publishing the results of studies and discoveries, scientists can share their important work, and find an engaged audience. While keeping records can be easy, writing accessibly about the findings for scientific publications can be difficult, especially for those new to the field.

Science writing takes many forms: from a project report or paper in an academic journal, to an article in a scientific magazine. In this two week course, you’ll learn about these different types of science writing, and look at the factors which you need to consider before you write a story.

You’ll discover how to structure your narrative, and how to convey your message for different written formats. As gathering accurate information and relevant opinions is crucial for writing any kind of science news, this course will also provide you with useful techniques on how to conduct a successful interview.

Intrigued? Then sign up for this short course to find out more.

Earn credit from the University of Leeds

This course is part of the Discovering Science program from the University of Leeds. If you complete all five courses in the program and buy a Certificate of Achievement for each, you will be eligible to complete an assessment that can lead to the award of 10 credits (or equivalent) from the University of Leeds.

Gain key science writing skills

To build on your writing skills gained in this course, each topic course within the Discovering Science program also includes a science writing exercise.

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. By completing all aspects of the course you will have achieved 14 hours of CPD time.

Choose how you would like to learn

  • If you have a general interest in this topic, you can work through the activities in around four hours each week. You will have the opportunity to check your understanding and spend some time joining the discussions.
  • If you would like to know more about the topic, you can spend up to an extra one hour a week reading the additional materials provided in the ‘Downloads’ and ‘See Also’ sections within some course steps. By doing this, you will have the required knowledge to attempt the end of course test.
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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds How is science communicated in today’s media? This course will help you understand how the latest scientific developments affecting our everyday lives are communicated through mainstream media, examine high-profile news stories and reports in science journals, led by science journalist, Catherine Sanderson, reflect on the power of blogs and videos as influential communication tools, learn top tips for conducting interviews, and find out what questions you should ask, so that you can write a balanced report. Using this analysis, identify the right angle for your story and write a compelling hook that will grab and retain your readers’ attention. The techniques explored in this course will help you develop your skills as an engaging science writer, communicating with both professional and public audiences.

Skip to 1 minute and 10 seconds Sign up now for Discovering Science: Science writing.

What topics will you cover?

  • Examine the different forms science writing can take, and the sources for finding out about science.
  • Examine the factors to consider when preparing to write your own science story, such as the angle, who your audience is, and why they will be interested in a story.
  • Understand how to structure a narrative.
  • Examine the different components you need to write for news articles, press releases and blogs, such as the headline for a news article.
  • Understand the importance of balance in a news story and how to achieve it.
  • Explore how to use video stories to communicate scientific information to different audiences.
  • Explore interviewing techniques to use before and during a broadcast.
  • Write a news article, blog post or video script; and review and comment on the work of other learners.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been accredited by the CPD Certification Service, which means it can be used to provide evidence of your continuing professional development.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain what science writing is and identify different types.
  • Identify how to source examples of science writing and evaluate them.
  • Evaluate how science is communicated through the media.
  • Identify how to define an audience, angle and the top-line in science writing.
  • Demonstrate how to structure a narrative.
  • Identify the appropriate use of reporting and interviewing techniques.
  • Develop a news article, blog post or video script.
  • Reflect on the power of science blogs and videos as communication tools.

Who is the course for?

No previous knowledge or experience is required, just an interest in science writing.

What do people say about this course?

"I joined this course because I wanted to try something different... No one at college taught us how to write about science in an "informal" way, they always focused on research papers, and I feel that, as scientists, it is one of our tasks to spread science to society. Thanks to this course I have learnt that there are many possibilities for science writing, and I have also been able to share and discuss my thoughts with people from all around the world. It was very enriching and totally worth it! Thanks a lot!!"

Who will you learn with?

I'm from West Yorkshire. I'm a Professor at the University of Leeds & Dean : Student Education. I research cancer & evolution https://physicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/staff/210/professor-paul-taylor

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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