Metaphorical concepts in molecular biology students’ texts – a way to improve subject-matter understanding

Alexandra Fredriksson, Susanne Pelger


Earlier research brings evidence that metaphors facilitate our understanding of the world. In this study we explore Bachelor students’ popular science articles on molecular biology with the aim to determine the frequency and nature of metaphorical concepts used in the articles. For this purpose, a comparative metaphor analysis of students’ texts was conducted. The results show that only few students (5 out of 47) use metaphorical concepts when writing about complex molecular biological mechanisms to non-specialist readers. We discuss that the use of metaphors not only reflect, but may also support, the writer’s subject understanding, especially when metaphorical concepts are created by the writer herself. We suggest that the invention of metaphorical concepts when explaining subject-matter to a layman could be a way for students to improve their subject understanding.


Popular science communication, Concetual metaphors, Bachelor Students, Comparative Metaphor Analysis

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