Master's Project

Project Details

My research focuses on the intersections of science and writing. In particular, I am examining the ways in which scientific research informs public policy. Many scientists keep elaborate field notes while working through their research processes. Although the research process that informs public policy exists, the evolution of research texts is not always transparent. Few technical communication researchers have examined how scientific writing, specifically a scientist’s field notes, transform and inform public policy. Such a knowledge gap leads me to the following questions:

1. How does scientific research inform public policy? Where are the terminating points in the communication process?

2. Who are the key stakeholders in state-level environmental policy creation?

3. What language (notes, phrases, etc.) from a scientist’s field notes show up in environmental laws and policies?

My research methods include:

A series of interviews with willing environmental scientists, lawyers, and graduate students in environmental science programs, ethnographic observations of environmental scientists working in the field and/or their negotiations with public forums, a textual analyses of a series of documents including scientific public policies, and any available communication materials between scientists and policymakers, and a survey sent to civilians measuring environmental policy clarity and transparency.