Chartering unknown territories

Posted by on Dec 08 2009 | Web Content Writing

I have always been the sort to take on challenges and experiment. However, when I was given the responsibility of handling a project where I would have to write about drugs and pharmaceuticals I had never even heard of, I was completely bowled over. For someone whose interest in science begins and ends at the fact that Newton discovered gravity when an apple fell on his head, writing and researching pharmaceuticals was something I found like trying to decipher an alien language. But I guess this is something that comes with our domain. So herein I shall try to give my readers a few tips on how you can make sense of something completely alien and still come up with a great piece of writing.

The challenge:

Putting together an article on drugs and chemical compounds, which are either under trial or have recently been introduced to the pharmaceutical market or are being developed to be the next breakthrough cure for a chronic disease.

The approach:

  • Research

Given the sensitivity of the subject being written on, research is the key and your only savior. I cannot begin to emphasize how important it is to get your facts right. Right from the chemical composition to the disease it shall cure or prevent to how it will accomplish the same, needs to be thoroughly researched and cross checked with other websites. Get your facts from authentic websites, especially those ending in ‘.gov’ or ‘.org’. Wikipedia is a rich source of information; however, it may not have the complete information and at times any information at all, so be prepared to widen your search options.

  • Unbiased reporting

Always remember, your opinion does not count. Whether a drug will be successful or not, whether it will successfully cure or prevent a disease or not is not up to you to decide. This is determined by clinical trials and clinical trials alone, so keep a neutral approach when writing. Do not try to interpret the facts your way, this is sensitive information and should be reported as is without any add-ons.

  • Short and crisp information

Anyone could end up reading your article: a doctor, a pharmacist, a volunteer for the next phase of clinical trials, or even a patient with the condition. The information has to be to the point and presented keeping in mind that the person reading it could be a professional or a layman. The best way to ensure that the reader gets the point is to not beat about the bush and keep the information as crisp as possible. These articles do not require flowery language and are intended only to be informative, therefore do not even bother to create a poem.

  • Simple language

The article should not read like some sort of an alien code. The whole point is to report it in the most responsible manner and yet keep the simplicity. Anybody who stumbles upon it should easily be able to understand what the correlation is between the constituents in the drug and the effect they would have on the condition. The best bet to make it simple is to first understand the information yourself, which makes me point towards the first point where I talked about research being the key. Unless you do not understand what you are writing about, the confusion will carry over to the article.

All I can say to sum up is do not treat this as just another piece of writing since the person reading it may actually be in desperate need of the drug and may be looking for alternative cures and your article may influence his decision.


1 comment for now

One Response to “Chartering unknown territories”

  1. Rohit

    I can visualize how complicated it would have been to get the things right with a project about totally alien territory and that too one which had diversified target audience. Thanks Cosima for sharing how you managed to get it right.

    09 Dec 2009 at 1:33 am

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