The field of science has the power to renovate the way in which we understand the world and ourselves, the potential to enhance mankindís quality of life and environmental protection, but also the risk of utter destruction and chaos if not used appropriately. Unfortunately, because of the technical rigor of science less than 1% of the population can actually understand the field of science on an applicable level. The three years of research a biochemist conducted will have meant nothing if the biochemist doesnít communicate to the pharmacologist that cell division can be inhibited by blocking mitogen signal receptors on the cellís surface, if the pharmacologist doesnít communicate to the oncologist that Iressa© can slow cancer cell growth, if the oncologist doesnít tell the patient that slowing cancer cell growth can result in a greater potential for cancer survival, and if the patient doesnít understand how and when to take the prescribed drug. Effectively communicating an idea from one person to the next may seem simple rather simple, but in reality one small misunderstanding can have rather large consequences.
Understanding the needs of a writer and the writerís intended readers are arguably the two most important tasks in effectively communicating to an audience. In CO301b (Writing in the Disciplined Sciences), you will be asked to write for the readers of a site partner. In doing so, you will need to understand the needs of both your site partner and its desired readers on a personal level. It is unlikely that you will already possess an understanding of your site partner and its audience, and as such you will need to research both parties if you wish to effectively communicate the needs of your site partner to its audience. There are many types of research that will help you in achieving this goal. As previous students of CO301b, we have provided you with a summary of research techniques we considered invaluable in successfully completing the CO301b site partner project.