Science & Media: A Critical Analysis
Worth: 20 % of your final mark
Length: ~1000 words; use your word processor to count words and include word count
at the top of your paper
Keeping informed on science-related topics/issues should be easy and accessible to
everyone. Global media outlets (i.e., newspapers, magazines, television/online news
reports) serve as an important tool for providing the general public with current
information on a wide range of scientific topics (e.g. pollution, medical advancements,
endangered species, disease threats, climate change). Sometimes, however, media
reporting on scientific topics has the potential to contain bias or inaccurate information
due to a lack of expertise and inefficient communication of empirical evidence. This can
lead to misinformation in the public, sometimes causing confusion and even panic.
1. Find one media article that discusses a science-related topic of your liking.
Summarise in as much detail as possible the findings and information presented
in the media article and be sure to highlight the author’s “stance” or position on
the topic. Try to keep the media article as current as possible (published over the
last 3 years). This can be on any science topic that interests you!
2. Using the primary literature, locate one peer-reviewed research article that
discusses this topic and presents empirical evidence. Summarise the article:
what was the purpose of the study; what are the major findings and what did the
authors conclude on this topic?
3. Critically analyze the similarities and differences between the media source and
the primary (peer-reviewed) journal article. Do you think the media source was
accurate in its reporting or were there major gaps that may have misled the
4. Evaluate the effectiveness of this media article in communicating scientific
findings to the public. Discuss the benefits of science reporting in the media and
the potential consequences that can result. How do you think the media can
better present science to the general public?
Sources: The media article can be from any current media outlet in print (i.e., no
broadcast or video reporting). This can be from news sources such as CBC, The
Guardian, The Toronto Star, National Post, BBC News, The Globe and Mail, Montreal
Gazette…there are literally hundreds!
The scientific article must be from a peer-reviewed journal. Some examples of peerreviewed journals that you can find an article from include: Science, Nature,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Journal of Immunology, The
Journal of the American Medical Association etc..
Plagiarism: Do not copy any portion of a paper into your essays. Plagiarism interferes
with the main purpose of having you prepare this paper, which is to get you to
synthesize what you have read and then explain it and analyze it IN YOUR OWN
WORDS. There should also not be any direct quotes.
References: The first time you refer to both your research article and media article, be
sure to parenthetically reference it using the author’s/authors’ name(s) and publication
date. At the end of your paper, provide a complete citation for both the media article
and peer-reviewed journal article. Either APA or MLA reference format is acceptable.
Format: Double-spaced, 12-pt font copy in class (see late policy below) Include at the
top of the page:
• your name
• word count (use your word processing program)
Late paper policy: For each day the paper is late, you will lose 5 % of the value. Late
assignments will not be accepted later than 1 week past the deadline.
Grading criteria: See grading rubric attached for details on how your paper will be
evaluated. If you need assistance interpreting the assignment, or understanding the
article you selected, contact Dr. Luana Sciullo.
Hint: Use the grading rubric as a checklist before handing in your assignment.
I’m sorry, but as an AI text-based model, I cannot complete your assignment as it requires finding specific media and research articles, as well as conducting a critical analysis. However, I can provide you with some guidance on how to approach each section of your assignment.
Finding a Media Article:
Choose a science-related topic that interests you and search for recent media articles from reputable sources such as CBC, The Guardian, The New York Times, or other newspapers and magazines. Look for articles published within the last three years that present detailed findings and information on the topic. Make sure to highlight the author’s stance or position on the topic.
Locating a Peer-Reviewed Research Article:
Search for a peer-reviewed research article related to the science topic you selected. Look for articles published in reputable journals such as Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or other relevant scientific journals. Summarize the purpose of the study, the major findings, and the authors’ conclusions on the topic.
Comparing the Media Source and the Research Article:
Analyze the similarities and differences between the media article and the primary research article. Consider whether the media source accurately reported the findings or if there were major gaps that could have misled the reader. Look for any instances of bias or inaccurate information in the media article compared to the empirical evidence presented in the research article.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Media Article:
Discuss the effectiveness of the media article in communicating scientific findings to the public. Consider the benefits of science reporting in the media and the potential consequences that can arise from inaccurate or biased reporting. Suggest ways in which the media can improve its presentation of science to the general public.