Description of Assessment Task and Purpose: Journalistic Assessment

Assessment Briefing Template 2020-21

Module Code & Title: JOU9176M Science Communication
Contribution to Final Module Mark: 50%
Description of Assessment Task and Purpose: Journalistic Assessment

The task will be a feature article up to 1,000 words (or equivalent) on a relevant topic (to be agreed with the tutor) – together with a critical analysis up to 1,500 words (indicative total 2,500).

You may write/produce any type of feature and should follow standard formats, including headline, standfirst, fact boxes, suggested images etc as appropriate.

The critical analysis will allow you to reflect upon the key issues (science, communication, science communication) you have encountered in producing the feature. Such discussion may well relate to the nature of the audience: general vs specialist; how content has been modified to suit the audience; use of non-technical language; anticipated problems of understanding (“noise”) on the part of audience; thoughts on why the topic deserves to be treated and/or is of interest to your audience etc.

Learning Outcomes Assessed:

1.     Demonstrate a critical understanding of issues surrounding the communication of science to different audiences.

2.     Demonstrate a critical awareness of some of the key contemporary debates in science, including issues relating to the development and dissemination of science policy.

3.     Communicate a chosen scientific message or aspect of science effectively to a specified audience.

Knowledge & Skills Assessed:

The module will explore different ways in which scientific knowledge and information about scientific research and discovery are communicated to different audiences. Students will focus on and engage with some of the contemporary debates surrounding science and its role in society.

Assessment Submission Instructions:

You are required to submit your assessment before 4pm on Wednesday 28 April 2021 using the online assessment submission facility on the Module Blackboard site. Pay careful attention to instructions provided at the time of submission.

Date for Return of Feedback: 21 May 2021
Format for Assessment:

Please submit text content as Word documents. You should draw on the academic literature to support your reflection, using Harvard referencing (see link on Blackboard for the library’s guide to Harvard referencing).

Marking Criteria for Assessment:

Journalistic: Your work will be assessed according to standard journalistic criteria: originality (including original quotes), topicality, creativity and, in particular, the clarity and relevance of the scientific/environmental messages.

70+      Distinction: exceptional work which could be broadcast with minimal editing.

60-69   Merit: good work which could be broadcast with some editing.

50-59   Pass: reasonable work but which needs substantial amounts of editing and reshaping and which could benefit from the revision of an important section.

40-49   Marginal fail: work which needs heavy editing or alteration. Contains some significant inaccuracies and is not publishable.

0-39     Fail: unsatisfactory work which fails to meet the brief and contains some serious

inaccuracies. Not publishable.

Critical Analysis

Argument (40%)

Does the essay provide a coherent and well-informed discussion, critically reflecting on the journalistic item, and clearly outlining the rationale for the editorial and production decisions you have made? Does it draw on relevant theoretical aspects as appropriate to support the argument?

Structure (40%)

Does the essay have a logical framework? Is it well structured, following appropriate academic writing conventions?

Presentation (20%)

Is there good use of grammar, spelling and punctuation; and is the essay well presented in all respects? Is there a bibliography and have sources been referenced correctly?



Feedback Format: Feedback sheet via Blackboard.
Additional Information for Completion of Assessment: Pay careful attention to instructions on the Blackboard submission folder.
Assessment Support Information: Discuss your choice of journalistic topic and format with your tutor, and consult the recommended reading materials for ideas to support your discussion in the critical analysis.