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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Lab Reports and Horror Stories: Leveraging Chemistry Majors’ Writing Interests for Student Engagement and Retention


Perceived divisions between arts/writing and science/disciplinary writing stymie science students' writerly growth. This study adopted a case-study qualitative design to discover how science undergraduates at one public university in the eastern U.S. understood writing and how they evaluated creative or personal writing in relation to their science identities. Findings show that science majors in this sample defined science writing as distinct from others kinds of writing, but they also saw creative writing as personally enjoyable and valuable. Conclusions are made that science educators may be able to leverage creative, imaginative writing that used in industry, such as science fiction prototyping, to give students chances to demonstrate how creative narratives do not lie beyond the boundaries of scientific discourse.

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