“It’s Dr. Evil, I didn’t spend six years in Evil Medical School to be called “mister,” thank you very much.”
Dealing with science and scientists has been an important part of my work whilst covering environmental issues over the past few years in China. Virtually every story I have investigated and covered began with reading the research of scientists working on the subject matter and/or in the location I intended to visit. Many scientists have been key to my research and without their input, much of my work wouldn’t of been possible.
I studied science at University, Zoology to be exact, so became quite familiar with many aspects of research and the scientific method. Not all of us studied science however and sometimes dealing with science and/or scientists can seem somewhat daunting. Researching the latest studies and/or news coming from scientific circles however is really one of the first things you should do, to get a thorough grounding of the current level of understanding of the topic you have decided to cover. This applies if you are covering environmental issues, medical or social.
So, to try to help you bridge that gap, here are my top 5 tips for dealing with science and scientists when researching a potential story….
1. Where to Start? So, you have a great story idea, you’ve identified some potential subjects but before you go anywhere you want to learn what the latest scientific research on the matter is. Where to start? Your first stop should be popular scientific magazines such as Nature, Science and Scientific American. These magazines are written for the educated layman and lay out all the latest happenings in the world of science. Do a quick search on their websites and see if anything comes up related to your subject matter.