Basic writing technique

The written science communication has many advantages. You can spend time writing, editing, reformulating, deleting and rewriting your text without interruptions. You reader can spend as long time as they want reading, understanding and revisiting paragraphs in your article. Additionally, your text can survive longer time than, say, your presentation.

There is not a one-size-fits-all solution on how to write a good popular science article, but there are some general tips that can benefit the science writer.

Know your audience

Who are you writing to? Keep the language and phrases within the familiar area for the reader. If you must use technical expressions and abbreviations, remember to clarify what they mean and why you use them.

Language

Be aware of your language and writing style. Will you use active or passive? Present or past tense? Make spelling and grammar checks when your piece is done. It might not affect your message, but it will affect how your article is perceived. Written pieces will come off as unprofessional if they are full of spelling errors and counter intuitive translations.

Introduction

Introduce your topic with a high-level explanation or an anchor in a concept the reader is already familiar with. Do not jump straight to the detailed essence. The reader needs a context and an introduction. Is there a relevant issue you can introduce and use that as an offset to explain your scientific topic?

Problem and solution

You can benefit from explaining a problem, even if it is on a larger scale than the solution you will introduce later. If the reader understands that there is a problem here, they will most likely also understand your motivation (or researchers’ motivation in general) for trying to solve that problem.

What next?

Include an outlook for the future, if relevant. What comes next? Are all problems in a certain scientific field now solved or are there more work to be done? Let the reader in on what is up in the future. It can trigger interest and will let the reader know that this is an on-going matter. If your topic is of more fundamental or historic character, let the reader know which impact it had on the following practice in science.