Communicating the Risk of Scientific Research

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Journal of Technical Writing and Communication




Risk communication has been explored in technical communication for over 15 years, but it has been largely confined to communicating the risk of industrial activity, medical risks, or environmental threats to the public. Using the framework previous risk communication has provided, this article applies those ideas to research science, specifically to stem cell research, where government opposition until recently has limited this research, preventing it from potentially providing organs for those who need a replacement or more effective treatments for other diseases such as diabetes or Parkinson's disease. Risk communication in the United States and Europe is contrasted to delineate the greater effort being made in Europe to construct stem cell research socially for the researcher and the public.