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Week 3 - Intro to Narrative Structure

Submitted by dnavon on Wed, 02/08/2017 - 13:53

On Monday we took our first dive into the world of narrative structure, which is the structural framework that underlies the order and manner in which a narrative is presented to an audience.  For our purposes - narrative structure is all the decisions that you make about how to convey your information to your particular audience based on your particular goals.  This is very similar to what we did with our elevator pitch workshop last week - except we're applying it to the written word and using a pre-determined structure as our framework.  We started off this unit by looking at a simple structure that involves a werewolf, a baby, and a silver bullet - a simplified version of the classic Hero's Journey in which a hero faces some obstacle (the werewolf) and overcomes it using some strategy (the silver bullet) because otherwise something the audience cares about will be lost (the baby).  We applied this structure to either our own research or to an article that someone else wrote.  We discussed how the hero might be you as the researcher or it might be your study organism.  Any given scientific project probably has many heros, obstacles, strategies, and reasons to care about it - you have to pick the one that you think will inspire your audience the most.  And that can be extremely difficult! Hence why we practiced it :)

Next week, Tim Miller will tell us more about scientific narratives.  WE WILL BE MEETING IN THE CAMPUS CENTER ROOM 162-3.  In the slides from this week (attached here as well as uploaded to the appropriate archive page), I've provided some background resources for Tim.  Please make sure to watch Randy Olson's TED Talk before next week (link in the slides).

There will be NO CLASS on President's Day, 2/20.

In three weeks you will have to present on a difficult science topic (preferably from your field).  You can find additional details about that - you guessed it! - in the slides.

Good luck, see you next week, and as always, feel free to ask me any questions you may have!

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