Explaining Research: How to Reach Key Audiences to Advance Your Work

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Overview

Scientists and engineers must explain their research to general audiences accessibly and engagingly, to advance understanding of their work as well as their careers. Whether the audience consists of colleagues, institutional leaders, legislators, corporate sponsors, funding agency administrators, or the general public, a researcher's ability to communicate complex scientific concepts critically impacts the continued success and existence of his or her work.

Drawing on knowledge gleaned from a forty-year career in research communication, Dennis Meredith maps out how researchers can utilize a wide range of communication tools and techniques to disseminate their discoveries to important audiences. Explaining Research shows how to use Web sites, blogs, videos, webinars, old-fashioned lectures, news releases, and lay-level articles to reach the key audiences, emphasizing that a strong understanding of each audience allows a more effective communication tailored to its unique background and needs. The book features revealing insights from scores of the country's leading science communication experts, including academics, authors, journalists, and public information officers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Meredith delivers an avalanche of guidance on every facet of explaining research, from giving compelling Powerpoint presentations to advising museum exhibits, shooting videos, writing press releases, and talking with the media and with policymakers. Explaining Resarch includes some astonishing and useful minutiae: When writing for print or the Web, one should revise sentences that contain too many short letters such as a, c and n, because its easier to read text that combines short letters with tall ones. Readers are reminded to go to the bathroom before participating in Web conferences, and to wear tall socks for television interviews, lest their calves peek out below their pant legs." — American Scientist

"Research Explainer Meredith provides more than an expression of opinion regarding the urgent need to reach the public and bridge the gap in science. He provides data and information on the trends that will be quite surprising to most scientists in his "Introduction: Explaining Your Research Is a Professional Necessity." The remainder of the book is a well thought out How-to guideline for scientists who wish to create a communication strategy that is effective in today's world. [Meredith] creates a compelling case to motivate scientists into action and he provides an authoritative guide to show how it can be done. Any scientist in today's culture of media should have 'Explaining Research' on hand."—The Physiologist

"...a huge range of tools and techniques are presented and successfully explained, with additional material available online through Meredith's blog and website. The book is consistently positive and encouraging, convincing the reader the step up and engage with the public, balancing aspirational suggestions with cautionary tales. Meredith wears his extensive experience lightly and his engaging style and up-to-date material are sure to make this book extremely popular as the need to tailor research communication to new audiences grows."—Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

"During his 40-year career, veteran US science communicator Dennis Meredith has written thousands of press releases and magazine articles while serving a string of leading American universities. In Explaining Research: How to Reach Key Audiences to Advance Your Work Meredith distils this experience into a fabulous guide for scientists seeking to communicate the fruits of their labours. Meredith offers stacks of advice on everything from creating a great website and crafting a well-written press release to preparing online videos and writing a blog. It is inspiring stuff, yet rooted in reality for example, Meredith provides useful PowerPoint tips (F5 starts a presentation; the space bar shifts to the next slide) and offers a list of "thrifty" words that can substitute for long ones ("do" not "perform", "end" not "terminate" and so on)."— Physics World

"An excellent guidebook, full of practical tips and advice and, just as important, key things to avoid and illustration of how not to do it, so that readers can, as the subheading says, 'reach key audiences to advance their research'." —Chemistry World

"A highly readable compendium of techniques to get your message out from a PR pro. No matter how good you are at gaining "mind-share", you will learn something new from this book."
— Brian Snow, NSA IAD Technical Director, 1996-2002

"It is so important for scientists and engineers to communicate their work to the public no matter what field they are in. Explaining Research provides great advice to those new to the experience, and there's opportunity for the more experienced among us to learn, too." — Peter Agre, M.D., Nobel Laureate

"This book is what every scientist needs - a communication coach who gives you the tools to succeed while simultaneously urging you forward and cheering you on." — Bruce Lewenstein, Professor of Science Communication, Cornell University

"Explaining Research is a must-have, must-read not only for its primary target audience, scientists, researchers, and engineers, but also, given the new media landscape, for just about anyone eager to enhance his/her science communication skills." — Ben Patrusky, Executive Director, Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

Listed in Science Book News

"The author shares a wealth of experience and common sense in this wide-ranging guide to communicating scientific research. Any researcher who samples this book's 27 clearly titled chapters will be better equipped to decide what is worth doing and how to get it done."
— Elizabeth Bass, The Quarterly Review of Biology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199732050
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/25/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dennis Meredith's career as a science communicator has included service at some of the country's leading research universities, including MIT, Caltech, Cornell, Duke and the University of Wisconsin. He has worked with science journalists at all the nation's major newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV networks and has written thousands of news releases and magazine articles on science and engineering over his career.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Explaining Your Research Is a Professional Necessity 1

Part I Learning a New Communications Paradigm

1 Understand Your Audiences 17

2 Plan Your Research Communication Strategy 30

Part II Effectively Reaching Your Peers

3 Give Compelling Talks 39

4 Develop Informative Visuals 60

5 Create Effective Poster Presentations 68

6 Write Clear Research Explanations 71

7 Build a Quality Web Site 80

Part III Engaging Lay Audiences

8 Forge Your Research Communications Strategy 99

9 The Essential News Release 108

10 Craft Releases That Tell Your Research Story 116

11 Target Releases to Key Audiences 134

12 Produce Effective Research Photography 143

13 Produce Informative Research Videos 156

14 Organize Dynamic Multimedia Presentations 169

15 Create E-Newsletters, Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts, Social Networks, and Webinars 172

16 Write Popular Articles, Op-Eds, and Essays 194

17 Author Popular Books 213

18 Become a Public Educator 223

19 Persuade Administrators, Donors, and Legislators 231

Part IV Explaining Your Research through the Media

20 Parse Publicity's Pros and Cons 249

21 Understand Journalists 255

22 Meet Journalists' Needs 267

23 Prepare for Media Interviews 274

24 Make the Interview Work for You 286

25 Protect Yourself from Communication Traps 308

26 Manage Media Relations at Scientific Meetings 327

27 Should You Be a Public Scientist? 335

Index 341

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