Writing Like a Pro About Science and Technology–Taking the Leap from Niche to Nanotechnology
What differentiates expert writing from niche writing? As a freelance writer who never hesitates to accept an assignment that pays at least the standard industry rate, what do you do when you receive a request for an article about particle accelerators but your expertise lies in product descriptions and window treatments?
Well-written, understandable articles concerning science and technology subjects can be created by any good freelance writer regardless of their educational background or knowledge base. For most writers, taking that initial plunge into uncharted realms of hard science represents the biggest hurdle to accepting and completing such an expert writing assignment. Lack of confidence in one’s ability to comprehend the subject compounded by a fear of failing to address a client’s needs prevents many good writers from successfully passing themselves off as published members of academia.
Start by Researching the Subject
If the subject concerns something with which you have little to no familiarity, don’t restrict your research to just one or two websites. The quality and comprehensibility of scientific content varies greatly on the web, as does the validity of the content, so read through at least five articles to acquire different perspectives about the topic.
During your preliminary research, investigate sites ending in .edu rather than .com or .net sites, even if the university-level content you read seems abstract and dry. Also, stop and look up any obscure words or concepts you encounter while reading an academic-style article. Slogging through cryptic content about black hole quantum physics in the hopes that you will suddenly detect something understandable (when most of the words are in excess of 10 letters) most likely won’t happen.
Don’t Be Afraid of Google Scholar
Academic articles can be intimidating. Generally comprised of an abstract, an introduction, statistical information, specifics of a research study and its results, freelance writers often neglect to use these articles in researching a high-tech subject, and for good reason!
The secret to garnering material for your scientific article from an academic paper is knowing where to look for information that contributes to your article in a comprehensible and meaningful manner. Instead of reading the entire paper, look only at the introduction and the discussion part of the paper. Don’t clog your neuronal pathways with unnecessary stuff like “methods”, “regression analysis” and “results”, which usually include boring, quantitative data that your client really does not want to see in the article. Instead, read the introduction (primarily provides a solid explanation about the subject of the paper) and the conclusion of the paper for further insight into the paper’s topic minus the clutter of scientific calculations.
Use More Words, Not Less
Yes, you heard that right–but just when writing a scientific article for mainstream Internet readers. Although you should always avoid the dreaded “fluff” type of writing in any genre of article writing, remember that your article is not going to be peer-reviewed before being published in an academic journal. It is going to be read by people like you and me, who would rather read this sentence: “While neuroscientists are still not certain how the brain creates consciousness, some do entertain an approach that considers the possibility of a non-physical dimension of reality,” than this sentence: “Remonstration of consciousness theories emerges when philosophical postulates demand metaphysical implications.”
Now where is that dictionary…..
Kimberly M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.