popular science writing: beyond the scientific article

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  • Ethel Makila 28 October 2015

    Beyond the scientific article Effective writing for non-scientific audiences

  • Outline

    Why Preparation Implementation Group exercise

    PresenterPresentation NotesWe will reflect on why it is important to think about writing for non-science audiencesGet some tips on how to go about preparing to do thisSee how we can implement thisDo a group exercise to practice what we have learnt

  • Why

    Funders Farmers Policy makers

    Students Private sector

    Scientists Family

    PresenterPresentation Notesdeliver message versus give information ....... Agony is when a multidisciplinary audience is forced to listen to a rather technical presentation

    You may want to influence behavior change among farmers/genera public as a result of your findings, change in agricultural practices eg change planting time because rainfall patterns influence mycotoxin contaminationYou may want to appeal to policy makers (who often dont have much time/energy to read details of the research. They may just need to get an overall understanding in order to buy into your researchDonors may not necessarily be a scientific audience, but you need their money and you need to appeal to their interests

  • Principles

    Accurate Brief Clear

    PresenterPresentation NotesAlthough the audience is not specialist in your area of specialization, you have to maintain the integrity of the informationChoose the scope of your research which you will focus to avoid rumbling about different exciting findingsAvoid using scientific jargon and abbreviations which may be common to scientists but not to general public

  • Preparation

    Define your scope

    Define your audience

    Determine purpose

    Decide the intended response

    PresenterPresentation NotesAre you trying to change behavior? Or influence policy? Are you just making people aware of new interesting discoveries or letting them know that your findings have potential for further research?To give you money? (Swedish public and general non-GMO sentiments)What is the level of understanding of your audience? (different audiences can have different questions which you need to anticipate and answer) How much time are they likely to spend on the article?You may have so much to say about your research, but what is the really necessary information? What aspect do you need to highlight?

  • Implementation

    Outline material

    Address one issue

    Remember ABC



    Accurate Clear

    PresenterPresentation NotesOutline your information to ensure you include all your important points Address one issue if possible to avoid confusing your audienceAvoid scientific jargon, use simple clear language if you must use scientific words, explain or use illustrations to make issues clearerPostcard to your mother see if you can say all you need to say in half to one pageCheck if your purpose is clear and that your points are laid out logically

  • Exercise:

    In the groups you already are, select a research topic.

    Define your audience Determine the purpose for which you are writing

    the article

    Determine the intended response Write an about the research on no more than one

    foolscap (2 notebook pages)

    PresenterPresentation NotesRemember to start with what is interesting about your researchHow relevant is the research to the lives of the audience (how does it connect to every day life)Keep it simple

    Slide Number 1OutlineWhyPrinciplesPreparationImplementationExercise:


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