Weekly Digest #60: Tools for Better Science Communication

Weekly Digest #60: Tools for Better Science Communication

Those of you who've been reading our blog for a while know that we care deeply about science communication. We have tried a lot of different methods, ranging from social media (Twitter, Facebook, and more); videos; and posters strategically designed by a visualization expert and translated into different languages; to oral presentations and workshops. We’ve previously gathered resources on science Twitter, tips for how to blog about education and how to avoid alternative acts, and our own take on talking to teachers and students and communicating science more generally. In this digest, we thought we would bring together some tools for science communication that should be useful to scientists in many different fields who want to talk publicly about their work.


1) How to (seriously) read a scientific paper

By Elisabeth Pain @BabettePain

It’s hard to write well if you don’t read much. But scientific articles are not often written with the reader in mind. What’s the best way to overcome this problem? In this helpful, instructive article, Elisabeth Pain collects reading tips from 12 different scientists across different career stages and disciplines. Which advice resonates with you most?



2) Every scientist is a memory researcher: Suggestions for making research more memorable

By Dr. Christopher Madan @cmadan

This clever open-access (and openly peer-reviewed) academic opinion piece by Dr. Christopher Madan applies what we know from basic research on memory to the academic writing process. Dr. Madan wonders: why don’t we - even those of us who research memory! - make more effort to use writing strategies that might make our articles more memorable?

Excerpt of Table 1 from linked source.

Excerpt of Table 1 from linked source.



3) Ten simple rules for short and swift presentations

By Dr. Christopher J. Lortie @cjlortie

Do you have a presentation coming up at a conference? Do you want to give a punchy, coherent presentation? These 10 rules should help. Rule #8 is particularly useful: "Allocate more than one slide to effectively end the narrative”. Ending a presentation can be tricky, but is super important if you want your audience to remember your key point(s). 

Note: if you find academic conferences boring, you might be interested in this recent blog post by Terry McGlynn @hormiga on making scientific conferences more engaging.



4) Developing Scientists’ “Soft” Skills

By Dr. Wendy Gordon @cambiare2011

In this brief article, Dr. Wendy Gordon provides 5 tips for developing soft skills as a scientists. She argues that these skills, which include knowing how to run a meeting (something some of have certainly never been formally taught as part of grad school training!), are just as important as the more technical skills we so diligently acquire during our training.



5) Do you need an academic brand?

By Dr. Cathy Mazak @cathymazak

“Branding” and “marketing” are dirty words in academia. No scientist - least of all us Learning Scientists! - wants to be seen as selling something. But in this helpful blog post, which even comes with a downloadable worksheet, Dr. Cathy Mazak convincingly argues that if you’re an academic, whether you like it or not, you’re inevitably going to have a brand - so you might as well make it an accurate and useful representation of who you want people to see you as.

Image from linked source.

Image from linked source.


For more academic advice, see this resource digest from Christopher Madan @cmadan.

Every Sunday, we pick a theme and provide a curated list of links. If you have a theme suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Occasionally we publish a guest digest, and If you'd like to propose a guest digest click here. Our 5 most recent digests can be found here:

Weekly Digest #55: Avoiding "Alternate Facts"

Weekly Digest #56: Helping Students with E-mail Etiquette

Weekly Digest #57: Prepping for Finals - How to Make a Study/Revision Plan

Weekly Digest #58: Service Learning: Further Readings and Resources

Weekly Digest #59: Making the Most of Your Summer