I’ve been playing with developing a workable definition for the rhetoric of science; particularly because of the need to explain its purpose and usefulness to an interdisciplinary panel of judges of the USF Challenge Grant I’m writing.
The grant proposes the development of a science-writing laboratory, in which composition theory (writing in the disciplines) and the rhetoric of science will inform five undergraduate students’ collaborative authorship of a scientific journal article detailing their research in Neuroscience/on melatonin and Parkinson’s-diseased cells.
Rhetoric of science: the purpose of these researchers’/theorists’ scholarship is to analyze writing practices in the sciences and to relate those processes with the production and use of disciplinary knowledge. In other words, rhetoricians of science are “concerned with understanding how the sciences construct knowledge through different textual forms [and with] the kinds of challenges students must meet when learning to write in their chosen fields” (Bazerman et al., 2005, p. 66). The goal of a rhetorician of science is to articulate strategic models of communication; precise and practical strategies for successfully negotiating scientific knowledge both within scientific discourse communities and beyond these communities; with lay publics.