Choose a contemporary scientific issue that is of concern to you and express your concerns about it (these include but not limited to: scientific ethics, plagiarism, privacy, language used in reporting scientific results, fair use policy, etc.). React to the major argument or issues raised in an article in a peer reviewed journal. In doing this, you might decide to agree or disagree with the author on issues raised in the article.
Sometimes, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find a platform where you can express
your concerns about an issue—i.e. in our case, science-related issues—or where
researchers can make important announcements or report significant research findings.
Letters to journal editors are an important genre that enables writers to do any of these.
Essentially, your goal in this assignment is to compose a 3-4-page letter to an editor of a
science journal doing one of the following (see pages 119-121 in our course textbook for
Report a major research finding to the scientific community. For example, if your
research just found a cure for AIDS, it will be worth reporting. Basically, if you
are conducting or have conducted some research, you might want to share the
results with the readership of the journal. It will be helpful for you to review
prior research on your topic to help readers understand the context and
importance of your findings. Then, move on to describe the purpose of your
research, the methods used, the findings, and why they are important to the
scientific community. Be sure to also highlight what questions remain to be
addressed on the topic your investigated.
Choose a contemporary scientific issue that is of concern to you and express
your concerns about it (these include but not limited to: scientific ethics,
plagiarism, privacy, language used in reporting scientific results, fair use policy,
etc.). If you have no specific issue in mind, you might read through several
scientific magazines for ideas on what topic interests you (here is a link to some
science journals: http://www.world-newspapers.com/science.html).
React to the major argument or issues raised in an article in a peer reviewed
journal. In doing this, you might decide to agree or disagree with the author on
issues raised in the article. An effective way to do this is to read the article in
question carefully, understand what the main arguments are, and then compose
your letter accordingly.
Some Ideas and requirements
Target a journal you would like to address your letter to and read several of the
articles in the journal (here is a link to some journals:
Review the guidelines for the “letter to the editor” section of that journal and
compose your letter based on the set of guidelines.
Note that this letter is not merely an opinionated or emotional letter; when you
make claims, try to support them with credible secondary sources. Use at least three
sources to support your discussions and arguments.
Read some sample letters to the editor in the journal you chose.
If you are reacting to the arguments in an article, choose the viewpoint from which
you will be writing.
Construct an outline of your letter.
Provide both in-text citations or reference page using either APA or MLA
Include your name, address, email address and phone number at the top of your
letter. Editors often require this information because they will need to verify your
identity. You can state that this information is not to be published.
Be concise and focused. Write your letter in pithy, clever statements, but remember
that this easy to do! You will probably need to write several drafts of your letter to
condense your message.
Follow the format stipulated in the journal, but is a general help:
a. In your first paragraph, introduce your problem and sum up your
b. In the second paragraph, include a few sentences to support your
c. End with a great summary and a clever, punchy line.
13. Proofread your letter. Editors will ignore letters that contain bad grammar and