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.
Topic Selection

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 them.

Interview construction

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.

Paragraph revision

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.

Working draft

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.

Final draft

The final draft of the paper is due in class on October 12.

Possible People to Interview

  1. Kris Thalhammer: Courageous Resisters
  2. Dan Hofrennning: Religion and Politics
  3. Jo Beld: Family Policy
  4. Gary Muir: How the brain encodes direction
  5. Mike Swift: Toxicology in Aquatic Ecosystems
  6. Anne Walters: Mechanisms of plant toxins
  7. Charles Umbanhower: Long term tracking of lake sediment
  8. Eric Cole: mating biology of Tetrahymena
  9. Matt Richey: Neural network modeling of insurance risk
  10. Julie Legler: Clinical trials of growth hormone in human
  11. Chuck Huff: Moral reasoning and political attitudes
  12. David VanWylen: Cardioprotection
  13. Dana Gross: Mother-child interaction and language development
  14. Shelly Dickinson: Effects of alcohol on learning in adolescent mice
  15. Jumi Hayaki: Emotional regulation and eating disorders
  16. Kevin Crisp: Neural regeneration after injury
  17. Henry Kermott: House wren breeding patterns
  18. Carolyn Anderson: Identity politics among the Lakota
  19. Bob Jacobel: Glaciology and terrain
  20. Diane Angell: Endangered species on the prairie.
  21. Beckie Judge: Economics of industrial siting
  22. Tony Becker: Anti-trust law and economic damages