Developing Science Writers for Online Media
In recent times, we are worried about the scarcity of good writers in science. Therefore, I thought, it will be quiet useful, if I can motivate some youth to write on science topics according to their interest. So, I started speaking to some unemployed youth, inviting them to write articles on science topics.
Youth used to come forward and show their willingness to write. When I asked them about their interest, they expressed various topics. I was encouraging them to write articles of about 3 to 4 pages, whichever way they could write.
Articles are Powerful
What is an article? In physical science, an article is a tangible material thing which has a certain dimension and parts meant for some purpose. Most of the time it would be a solid object which has some use. Then, when we look into this description of what is a written article, we can see similar aspects. It is also having a tangible form and has some dimension and communication purpose.
Collection of words and sentences will make a written article and the number of words must be at least 500 in the count. In a printed page, it will make a single page of text. Text of this dimension must be grammatically correct to qualify as an article.
In science, there is not much importance for the English grammar, in countries other than US, UK or Australia but it is important that how meaningfully you would communicate the content to the reader. When the number of words increases, the article is considered as different according to its size. Usually, a single page article is considered as a short article, whereas, multi-page article a descriptive one.
So, the youth who have come forward to write never used to turn up with their article. Not even a short article from their side got completed. Then I thought I must do something so that that should be effective writing without which there will be no development in the future.
Popular science writing has very much importance to help society to understand the new inventions. When the scientists publish their research outcomes in scientific journals they are very much technical in their content and the laymen find it very difficult to follow the essence of it. But a science graduate or a post-graduate can understand it very well and make simpler and creative works to make the common man understand what is there in the scientific article.
The art of writing an article makes it beautiful. How we can see the beauty of an article? The beauty is of course in its first look and then its readability, making it enjoyable to the reader.
In some media like the visual advertisement carrying visual graphics and pictures as well as some text, you have a lot of creative content coming out of the total design layout and forming the art of communication. And therefore there is not much relevance for a lot of text there. To convincingly make the communication complete, only a few words are used to connect the observer with the objectives of the publisher.
Can we consider a letter as an article? Probably yes because it also does fulfil the overall requirements of an article. A letter or a short communication may be the smallest form of article. Written articles are also considered as simple contents, an essay, a short story or a brief communication.
When your article will become successful? It is at the time when your article acts in front of the reader and helps him to meet his goal at the same time your article will not fail to fulfil the goal of the publisher. The publisher may be a different individual or the author himself. So the content must be cleverly drafted enough to convey the essence of his writing effectively to fulfil the purpose of communication. When you write more and more of such articles, you will become a successful and recognized author.
Different Parts of Articles
A complete article has the following parts.
- A headline or the title
- The main article
- The summing up conclusion
Title of an article must be short and cute. It has to be attractive and inviting the reader to the main content. Some articles published in certain publications have a very brief main heading followed by a descriptive long title. Some other publications will have a title page itself. This may be in the case of a brochure or a pamphlet or a booklet.
In case of a long title, it will contain keywords and tags embedded in it. Such titles become long-form titles. Long-form titles may help you to bring more traffic from the Internet search engines but may not be attractive for the reader. Readers like to see short and cute titles. Anyway, the title or the heading situated on the topmost part of the content makes an important part of the article.
A clever writer writes a short title, at the same time he/she includes the main keywords in it. The title contains at least 3 to 5 words. These words in the title grab the attention of the reader and invite a person to read the article. The reader can find a complete description of the main article. For blog posts, the titles form permalink of the article URL.
Tips for Titles
- Using simple and direct speech text in titles makes it crisp, quick and emphatic. As far as possible we can avoid numbers in titles. If at all required it can be given in figures instead of text.
- Conjunctions can be converted to punctuations to make the title short and cute.
- Grammatic articles can be dropped to make crispy titles. "A, an, the", can be omitted in the titles. Auxiliary verbs such as "has, have, are", can be omitted to make titles sound better.
The success of the articles in most of the instances is determined by its title. Editorial research has shown that most of the time short titles were most successful in attracting readership. However, in science, there is no scope at all for clickbait titles. It is because science is all about real things and there is no scope for deceiving attractions.
Usually, every article with a small summary, in the beginning, conveys what the article is describing. It can be up to 200 to 250 characters long so that a reader can grab the summary within a minute. In the case of Internet articles, online search engines grab topmost lines for indexing. So, the summary in the top can have all the important keywords and tags which are grabbed by the search engines and index properly. Such indexing becomes very useful for readers who are using search engines to obtain articles on the internet. In the present day context, it is called the search engine optimization (SEO) of the articles. Some of the site's summary on the top of the article acts as Meta text.
The Main Article
Body text can be divided into different parts utilizing subheadings. Mainly the body text can be distinguishable into three main parts. Introduction, main content and the conclusion.
When there are more things involving complicated descriptions, which are divided into different levels to make subheadings and sub-sub headings under different subheadings.
As much as the articles remain simple, they are well understood by the readers without much effort. When the articles are too much complicated, it is better either to divide the article into different sections or form a collection of articles as different parts by the titles itself.
Each paragraph of an article is constructed in such a way that one paragraph logically leads into another and forms a continuous flow of ideas from one paragraph to another taking the reader from the starting sentence to the ending sentence of the article without much stress. Each paragraph is a collection of sentences, beginning with an idea and describing it to a limited scale to meaningfully take the reader to the next progression.
Accuracy, clarity, precision, ample description, limited use of words, scientific English, Real life and proven experimental evidence, critical analysis and discussion of the results make the better quality article. The direct and simple language will be appreciated than using complicated sentences with word jargons. Ultimately knowing the requirements of the readers is important to write a complete science communication.
After elaborate descriptions, every article must take the reader to a finishing point. It is at this point where the reader gives his opinion about the subject of the article. Therefore it is important to convince the reader, sum-up the article and give a message to the reader for a meaningful conclusion.
For the new writers, it is confusing to differentiate between a summary and an introduction. It has to be very simple and defining the objective. An introduction girls a good beginning by introducing the subject to the reader and leads him to the succeeding paragraphs of description. Whereas, the summary is the essence of the entire article. Both summary and introduction, as well as the conclusion, are to be simple and lucid so that it can be understood by the global readers.
While writing anything, know your subject, readers and the possible effect that your article is going to create for the end-users. Stakeholder and end-user perspectives only will get appreciations for your article. Keep the descriptions balanced and convincing.
Figures, formulas and flow charts can be given as graphic images to retain the layout design, irrespective of the display platform, be it a desktop computer, an android mobile, windows mobile or Mac OS or a laptop/ tablet PC.
Always have some extra reading. There are lots of online and journal resources available from scientific organizations. Subscribe those to keep yourself up to date.
Use international units and metrics for quantitative details.
Use reference or bibliography list at the end of the article, after the conclusion.
Conclusion of the article
Conclusions of a brief paragraph with important points drawn from the descriptions in the above paragraphs make a perfect end. These are so important quite similar to the summary of the article at the top. Search engines also scan through the ending paragraph of every article. Therefore, it is very important to calculatingly formulate the conclusion so that it is non-ambiguous. Ultimately, the concluding paragraph makes the title of an article meaningful.
Identify and compare your article with a cow. It has a head with horns, a face, a body with limbs and a tail. If your title is the head, summary the eyes, introduction its face, the main article is the body with limbs, which also yields sweet milk. The tail is the summary which adds to the beauty of the cow. So incompleteness and the abrupt ending will damage your article.
- Online articles have different parts which are hidden from the reader. These are the Meta texts and tag words.
- Search engine optimization is an art in digital content creation. Less than 750 words and more than 3000 words will diminish the value of the article. Less number of words will not gain search engine indexing.
- Lengthy articles will be left out by the readers.
- Colours, photographs and videos make the article more interesting.
Purpose of the Articles
- To become and develop as a science author.
- To convince audience about certain concept.
- To do effective knowledge sharing.
- To educate and give information to the students.
- To provide entertainment and leisure to the reader.
- To earn income.
Functions of the articles
- Creating intellectual property.
- Providing useful reading material.
- Basic text as well as reference material for future research.
- Social media influence is done with the help of articles.
- Projecting the author's proficiency and knowledge to the public.
- Development of the community and the nation.
In a scientific article, the purpose of writing is to communicate invention in an understandable manner the scientific community or to the common public.
In the case of advertisements or technology business proposals, it is to market a product or service to the customers. For this, the purpose of the article is to convince and educate the customer about the different benefits of a particular product or service.
Types of Articles on Science
- Science fictions
- Research articles
- Short communications
- Technology proposals
- Business proposals for industries
- Popular articles
- Peer to peer communications
- Conference articles
- Textbooks and educational tutorials
- Laboratory manuals and experimental guidelines
- Equipment manuals
- Chapters for books
- Review articles and book reviews
- Patent disclosures
- Video and podcast scripts
- Display charts and advertisements
- Various reports such as news reports, project reports, dissertations, thesis, etc.
- Product catalogues and brochures
- Pamphlets, folders and flyers.
Need Based Contents Online
- Some journals and magazines have their requirement of content.
- Some of the quick communications are given as short articles.
- Popular science magazines require creative writings with a clear cut description of facts and data same time convey thematically intended ideas.
- Patent applications and industrial communications need cleverly written articles which do not lose intellectual secrets to the readers while describing the benefits. Similar is the technical bulletins.
- Project reports and the organisational reports will give a wide variety of information in a previously specified format.
- Executive and social responsibility folders will describe in a good convincing manner.
So, in the task of generating authors on science subjects, I had to conduct a science writing workshop. During the workshop, the interested participants are given a chance to write their skill in writing articles. Confidence building tactics were used to motivate them to write more. Rewards and prizes were given to develop competition. Free platforms were provided to publish their articles.
Tips for Writers
A writer needs to develop his own unique style of writing to attract readers. When we say this, most of the time, we have to compromise on various rules and guidelines. This is because most successful authors have written articles which do not follow some other important rules. So it is very important to write content, understandable to the readers rather than remaining too much strict regarding the rules and guidelines. So the guideline to the writers is that "Please write more and more so that you develop your own style and large readership in the long run".
To be a recognised author, it is important to write articles regularly. It is not only important to be consistent in writing, but it is also important to deliver quality content. It is important to get associated with quality publishers as well. In the present age of electronic commerce and digital media communications, influencer marketing, developmental communications, etc. content is emerging as a major requirement. The scientific industries are looking forward to more and more writers with creative talents having convincing abilities to communicate their products online. Keep reading scientific inventions and write regularly on a fixed schedule in a disciplined manner, serving the scientific community for a better tomorrow. Now it is the turn of the budding writers to come forward and write something.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Halemane Muralikrishna