The Science Reporting Assignment
This assignment asks you to do journalistic writing about the moral implications
of scientific research programs. I have asked faculty to volunteer to be interviewed
about their research programs. Your asignment is to interview them and to report
on one or more of the moral implications that their research raises. Your paper
is to be reporting for an intelligent audience (e.g. Newsweek, Atlantic, etc.).
It should be from 1,000 to 1,500 words in length and may contain up to 3 graphs,
tables, or pictures.
On the second day of class, you will choose a research program on which you
will report. I have provided a list of faculty (see below) who have volunteered
to be interviewed, with some explanation of their research programs. I am still
waiting to hear back from some, but don't let that stop you from contacting
On September 14th, you will turn in an interview protocol that follows the
format we will discuss in class.
From angle to plan
On September 28, you will begin in class a description of your angle: the
approach you will take to your project. It should provide a fresh look at the
issues you want to address. We will then try to move, in class, from your angle
to a detailed plan of what you are going to write.
On October 3, we will work in groups in class to revise one critical paragraph
from your developing draft of your paper. This means you will need to bring
one paragraph to class. Double space the paragraph on a separate sheet of paper
and bring 3 copies of it, along with one copy or your plan.
On October 5, a working draft of your paper is due at the end of class. I
hope you will have consluted with me about turning your outline into this draft.
I will give you written feedback on this draft. A working draft is NOT the first
draft you can come up with from the outline, but a draft that mostly does what
you want. This is likely to be the 2nd or 3rd actual revision. We will talk
about how to get feedback on drafts from others and how to revise.
The final draft of the paper is due in class on October 12.
Possible People to Interview
- Kris Thalhammer: Courageous Resisters
- Dan Hofrennning: Religion and Politics
- Jo Beld: Family Policy
- Gary Muir: How the brain encodes direction
- Mike Swift: Toxicology in Aquatic Ecosystems
- Anne Walters: Mechanisms of plant toxins
- Charles Umbanhower: Long term tracking of lake sediment
- Eric Cole: mating biology of Tetrahymena
- Matt Richey: Neural network modeling of insurance risk
- Julie Legler: Clinical trials of growth hormone in human
- Chuck Huff: Moral reasoning and political attitudes
- David VanWylen: Cardioprotection
- Dana Gross: Mother-child interaction and language development
- Shelly Dickinson: Effects of alcohol on learning in adolescent mice
- Jumi Hayaki: Emotional regulation and eating disorders
- Kevin Crisp: Neural regeneration after injury
- Henry Kermott: House wren breeding patterns
- Carolyn Anderson: Identity politics among the Lakota
- Bob Jacobel: Glaciology and terrain
- Diane Angell: Endangered species on the prairie.
- Beckie Judge: Economics of industrial siting
- Tony Becker: Anti-trust law and economic damages