Encoding Science

Encoding Science

case instructions: You are a science writer hired by the Ontario government to prepare a briefing note for government committee deliberations. The committee you are

working for is debating a policy decision on an advocacy issue. Your job is to provide a briefing note that explains the science behind the issue. In other words, your

research brief is intended to provide government decision-makers from a range of backgrounds with science-related information in plain language. Specifically, you are

expected to:

• consult a minimum of five recent (i.e., published within the last 10 years)
peer-reviewed, scholarly sources in researching your brief;
• include solid scientific data in your brief because although your audience
will not be scientists they will be government officials who look for evidence when making decisions;
• include visual aids, rhetorical devices and other communication techniques to gain audience’s attention and help your audience understand the science behind the

• maintain a neutral stance;
• organize your brief into the following sections: Issue, Background, Key Considerations, and Conclusion. Please read S. Doyle’s (U. Victoria) style
ªguide for more detailed information about the sections and other stylistic
aspects of briefing notes: http://web.uvic.ca/~sdoyle/E302/Notes/WritingBriefingNotes.html

• limit your brief to approximately 750 words double-spaced, plus visual aids and bibliography;
• include citations and bibliography in APA format.

Specific Case for this Assignment:

As part of a broader effort to support the development of the clean-energy industry, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is considering

proposals for the development of dozens of new wind farms in Ontario in the next few years. However, some communities and advocacy groups are concerned that vibration,

noise and other byproducts of wind turbines may be harmful to humans and are urging the government to stop the development of wind farms in Ontario. The Ministry of

the Environment and Climate Change must decide whether or not to approve the construction of new wind farms. To ensure that policy for wind farm development is based

on scientific findings, the Ministry has created a committee to investigate the impact of wind turbines on human health. The committee studying this issue has asked

you to prepare a briefing note addressing the following question:

What do the latest scientific findings reveal about the impact of wind turbines on human health?

Remember: Objective is to engage and inform your audience. Try to
remain as neutral as possible with respect to the committee’s policy decision
(whether to support or restrict wind farm development).


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