Communication for Research Scientists

Subject SCIE90013 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 (two 1-hour seminars plus one 1-hour tutorial per week)
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Jenny Martin


Subject Overview:

As a scientist, it is not only important to be able to experiment, research and discover, it is also vital that you can communicate your research effectively in a variety of ways. Even the most brilliant research is wasted if no one knows it has been done or if your target audience is unable to understand it.

In this subject you will develop your written and oral communication skills to ensure that you communicate your science as effectively as possible. We will cover effective science writing and oral presentations across a number of formats: writing a thesis; preparing, submitting and publishing journal papers; searching for, evaluating and citing appropriate references; peer review, making the most of conferences; applying for grants and jobs; and using social media to publicise your research.

You will have multiple opportunities to practice, receive feedback and improve both your oral and written communication skills.

Please note: students must be undertaking their own research in order to enrol in this subject.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • articulate the range of ways in which research scientists communicate their work;
  • identify the common features of effective communication in written and oral forms;
  • understand the nature of different outputs for scientific research;
  • effectively write (and appropriately format) different types of written documents (e.g. abstract, lay summary, manuscript);
  • locate, critically evaluate and cite relevant references;
  • prepare an oral presentation for a conference;
  • have some insight into the most effective ways for journalists and scientists to work together;
  • provide constructive feedback to other students on their communication skills (both written and oral).
  • Attendance and participation in class discussions (10%);
  • First written task: 100 word lay summary of your research, due week 3 (10%);
  • Second written task: 300 word abstract of your research, due week 5 (10%);
  • Third written task: 1000 word Nature/Science news article. As part of the task, students will peer review each others' work. Initial submission for peer review due week 7, final submission due week 10 (20%) Satisfactory participation in peer review is a hurdle requirement
  • Fourth written task: 1000 word short communication for a discipline-specific journal due week 12 (20%);
  • 8 minute conference-style spoke presentation, due week 11 or 12 (30%).
Prescribed Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On the completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • Communicate effectively in both written and oral forms.
  • Read critically.
  • Use the library, online information and other resources effectively.
  • Plan work, use time effectively and meet deadlines.
  • Reflect on their own communication skills
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Biomedical Science
Master of Geoscience
Master of Science (BioSciences)
Master of Science (Bioinformatics)
Master of Science (Botany)
Master of Science (Chemistry)
Master of Science (Computer Science)
Master of Science (Earth Sciences)
Master of Science (Ecosystem Science)
Master of Science (Epidemiology)
Master of Science (Genetics)
Master of Science (Geography)
Master of Science (Information Systems)
Master of Science (Physics)
Master of Science (Vision Science)
Master of Science (Zoology)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Genetics

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