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Using the 5 Ws for Science Writing

Science writing, in some respects, is no different to other types of journalistic writing. It is about: Who?, What?, Why?, When?, Where? and (w)How?

Who? It is helpful to contextualise any story, we want to know which genius is responsible for making the breakthrough; either, so we can look out for their name in the future or find out a bit more about them.

What (did they discover)?5ws_image

Why?…. Is the discovery important.

When? We like to know when the discovery happened so we can form some sort of an idea of how long it might be until the breakthrough makes an impact.

Where? Is this amazing research taking place in the back of a shed or at Harvard? Most people would usually have more trust for the latter.

How? Did who? Make the What?

My English teacher (Who?) always tried to drum (How?) the 5Ws (What?) into me at secondary school (When?) in Petersfield, England (Where?) and they have served me well ever since and here’s Why!

About James Beggs

PhD Research Student at University of Southampton (MRC Case Industrial Studentship with AstraZeneca). [Read more]
1 reply
  1. Kim
    Kim says:

    LOL, very funny and well-written little piece here. I especially enjoyed the “which genius is responsible for making the breakthrough” remark.

    It’s a good reminder to stick to basics.

    Reply

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