The Discourse of Science

Understanding the Discourse of Science and How to Enter the Discourse

Introduction: “ In order to understand, use, and judge scientific content, students need a metaunderstanding of the motives of science and scientists and the history of science concepts” (Haas 48)

The Discourse of science has many factors to being able to belong to the Discourse without being seen as an outsider.Science itself pertains a length of undoubted history that can be altered and changed by those of whom are able to get there work published and recognized by others within the Discourse. Gee discussed what the Discourses are and how they differ between two different experiences in our lives. The primary Discourse is our “home-based sense of identity”(Gee 8) and the secondary Discourse is our interaction with “various non-home-based institutions”(Gee 8). Those of whom that want to enter the Science Discourse must understand the ideas and views of the scientists and the science itself in order to “figure out what they are saying”(Haas 60). The question of who published what first is a mass confusion that is presented by A.J. Meadows, discussing how there was “abuse” in the scientific community regarding the “permit priority to be claimed by a scientist who was not actually first in the field”. The Discourse of sciences history is rich with research and developments, such as methods and results, that have been altered and changed by those of whom want to further the study of the science. Here we find that the ideas presented by Fiano on the “seven building tasks as the seven components of discourse situations” (Fiano 66) actually incorporate with our IMRaD Cheat Sheet, such as the identities that pertain to the readers. In Haas’ reading, she followed the path of Eliza, a college student developing herself from an autonomous reader to one with a rhetorical frame. Eliza’s four years in college brings a connection with Gee’s idea on apprenticeship and also how one can’t be taught the Discourse.

The Building Tasks in the Discourse of Science

The Discourse of science contains two identities, one of which is the researcher, and the other being the reader. Fiano introduces the idea that we have seven building tasks that we must complete in order to enter a Discourse. One of which is identities. Fiano describes identities as “the identities or identity relevant in a context”(Fiano 67). The Discourse of science first identity is the researcher. Researchers are those of whom have discovered and advanced work founded in the science field in order to prolong the history of the Discourse. The researcher is an identity because you must be able to “begin by explaining to your readers what problems you researched and why the research is necessary.”(IMRaD 1). Within the science Discourse, researchers produce their findings in things known as “Scientific Journal Articles”(Haas 64). These scientific journals contain a scientist’s findings after their research in their particular field. The research is found in the results section “where the findings and outcomes of the research go”(IMRaD 1). Researchers have used the scientific journals to provide a history behind their research and support their ideas. This relates to identities due to the relation the scientist have with the Discourse of science itself. The scientist “summarize the main findings of their study and discuss the flaws in the current study”(IMRaD) which we can find in the IMRaD cheat sheet located in the discussion section. Without the continuation of the science in the Discourse, science would be lost in history.

Identity of the Reader

The following identity we discover in the science Discourse is the reader. Eliza is a good example of how the reader is an identity in the Discourse of the natural sciences. During Eliza’s freshman year, she wanted to “learn it”, “understand it”, or even to “memorize it”, by it she means science. Eliza was an autonomous reader, meaning she “seemed to treat the text as a context-less object”(Haas 50). This is important to understand because in order to successfully understand the identity as a reader, you must be able to have a rhetorical frame.

Rhetorical frame “helps readers account for the motives underlying textual acts and their outcomes”(Haas 48).

Eliza started off her freshman year taking information from text in her Biology “exclusively on preparing for tests”(Haas 59). The issue with this is Eliza failed to take from the reading and understand the meaning behind it. During Eliza’s sophomore year she continued to read autonomously, except “the one major change..her point of view”(Haas 61). “Eliza’s reading practices showed an increased attention to the procedures of knowing”(Haas 61), which advanced her into understanding the importance of the scientific journals. During Eliza’s junior year she began to “see authors as scientists”(Haas 63). Eliza developed this idea when she began to successfully master the identity task as a reader. She changed her goal of “preparing a general knowledge of her topic as a sophomore, to find out what people are doing as junior.”(Haas 64). Finally as a senior, Eliza changed from an autonomous reader to becoming a reader with a rhetorical frame. As Eliza changed through her four years in college, we can interpret this as how we read in our Discourse throughout college. The identity of a reader is crucial when wanting to become part of a Discourse.

Apprenticeship and the Discourse of Science

The Discourse of science science of Discourse pertains to the idea of an apprenticeship which relates to the idea of autonomous text and how we grow into the Discourse when taking part in one. The idea behind of an apprenticeship is not to

“teach but to apprentice someone in a master-apprentice relationship in a social practice, where in you scaffold their growing ability to say, do, believe, and so forth, within that Discourse, through demonstrating your mastery and supporting theirs even when it barely exists”(Gee 11).

Apprenticeship allows you to get an inside look in the Discourse such as science, allowing you to understand what the language is like and what it takes to enter the Discourse. Haas develops the idea of an apprenticeship in her paper when following Eliza as she experiences her work study job. Eliza describes herself as an “apprentice” when discussing her idea behind the work study with her adviser, Shelly. Eliza started off her path into the Discourse of Science as an autonomous reader, leaving us to know that she was not capable of entering the Discourse of science and fully understanding the language involved with it. Eliza develops her entire understanding of the language of the Discourse following her apprenticeship, taking from what they scientists offer in the journals and portraying it to the field of science and how its significance plays a role in the world of science. Once Eliza had successfully developed her knowledge of the Discourse, she developed a rhetorical frame.

Rhetorical Frame and The Science Discourse

Developing a rhetorical frame while reading allows you to master the Discourse of science by understanding what the author is trying to portray to you. Your rhetorical frame is important to obtain when trying to understand the language and material a scientist is trying to show you throughout the history of the research. Rhetorical frame allows you to

“use citations to uncover relevant articles and exhibit a greater awareness of the intertextual nature of the Discourse”(Haas 66).

The “IMRAD Cheat Sheet” relates to “participants, their relationships and motives, and several layers of context” (Haas 48). In the Introduction you will find “participants, their relationships and motives, and several layers of context” (Haas 48). Once you participate in reading the author’s paper, you become entitled to this quote. For the rest of the paper you will be able to understand the message and ideas that are trying to be portrayed upon you by the author. Being able to understand the motives is part of what it takes to have a rhetorical frame. Lastly, it is important to understand the titles and understanding the citations list. The citations list are linked between particular sets of articles and

“used to represent the claims of their sources”(Haas 66).

Understanding the citations allows you to understand the history of the Discourse and how “they connect their findings to other research”(IMRaD 1). The rhetorical frame introduce the language to the Discourse of science provides you the information needed to join the Discourse. Often, people within the Discourse, which would be the scientist, “ test the fluency of the dominant Discourses in which their power is symbolized” (Gee 8). The Discourse of science has many changing factors that can’t be taught, they must be learned on your own by experiences. These experiences can be experiments you perform and the results that come from them. As IMRaD discusses, the results “note any additional, secondary trends and support them with data”(IMRaD 1), which are important to understand when you belong to the Discourse of science.

History of Science

Understanding the history of the science Discourse is critical when trying to trace back researchers work and where their findings stemmed off of. This is why having evidence and research is important to be able to follow the footsteps of experiments and science itself. Scientists have used the history of science throughout their experiments in order to provide the proper credit to those of whom began the research. You find this information in IMRaD when looking in the section of Results. The results area has a subsection known as Comment, where “you compare to other researchers”(IMRaD1). IMRaD has given scientist the ability to show their work and take from others mistakes in order to advance their work. Time has lost some of those whom researched the experiments and didn’t publish their work, losing all their time and effort in the long history of science. Scientist began to create “publication journals, noting the interval between the date of the receipt of a paper”(Meadows 28), allowing for dates of publication to be available for others trying to continue the work. Joining the Discourse of science, we must be able to understand what we learn about experiments and be able to find the history of research and fails and trials that are so critical to science.


The IMRaD worksheet was proven to be very beneficial when trying to understand the Discourse of science and the requirements pertaining the field. Meadows provided an inside look on the corruption of the history of science and why proper citation and sourcing leads us to understand those of whom started the importance of the specific study. Gee gives us the knowledge of what a Discourse is and what the people of the Discourse expect from those of whom are trying to enter it. Gee also provided us with the information needed when discussing the importance of an apprenticeship in the Discourse of science. Haas gives us an inside look on the movement from an autonomous reader to a person having a rhetorical frame through her study on Eliza. All these resources tied together to give us a complete understanding of the Discourse of science and what it takes to join without being seen as an outsider.

Works Cited

Fiano, Darcy A. “Primary Discourse and Expressive Oral Language in a Kindergarten Student.” Reading Research Quarterly 49.1 (2014): 61–84. Print.

Gee, James P. “Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics: Introduction” Journal of Education 171. 1 (1989): 5–17. Print.

Haas, Christina. “Learning to Read Biology: One Student’s Rhetorical Development in College.” Written Communication 11.1 (1994): 43–84. Print.

Meadows, A.j. “The Scientific Paper as an Archaeological Artefact.” Journal of Information Science 11.1 (1985): 27–29. Print.