2022-08-30 - 2023-08-31 | Research area: EvoDevo
Modern biology is a primarily discursive endeavor. Researchers acquire and contribute the majority of their knowledge of biology through communication with other researchers in the form of scientific research, review articles, and presentations. This project investigates the ways our interpretation of life is shaped by science's formal and informal methods and norms of communicating through application of literary thinking to scientific research reporting. The primary focus will be on narrative structuring. Biological research reports must integrate two parallel plots, 1) the events of the scientific investigation and 2) the events of the natural phenomenon. The theoretical branch of this project will use tools of narratology and accounts of science article writing and reading, as well as discussions with practicing biologists, to elucidate conscious and unconscious roles of narrative and the types of narratives that occur in mediums of research communication. The empirical branch of this project will analyze the way biologists organize narrative in developmental biology. The chronology of developmental processes will be compared to the organization of the presentation in primary research articles and reviews to identify the dominant organizing principles. The role of narrative has been articulated for the presentation of scientific material to the public, but there is little material directed at communication between researchers.