As an editor, I spend my time making sure material is correct, consistent and clear for the intended audience.
When I work with academic authors, it’s assumed that most readers will be those with an interest in – and background knowledge of – their specific academic field.
Similarly, the reports I edit for an EU agency are aimed at readers who already have a certain level of knowledge about the subject, whether that’s vocational training systems, factors affecting the labour market, or updates on the situation in a particular country.
But what about communicating research to others? How can those with specialist knowledge convey information to others outside their sphere? And, in fact, why should they do this?
Although I rarely need to consider these questions in my day-to-day editing, I’m very interested in this issue. It’s something that researchers and others are having to be more conscious of – and that’s no bad thing.
Research communication meet-up
Research Retold is a Leeds-based company that helps researchers to communicate their findings in accessible (often visual) ways. I recently went along to one of the company’s events, which brought together researchers and those who work with them.
Why is communicating research important?
One technique for focusing the mind on the key aspects of a piece of research is to try to sum it up in 60 seconds – an elevator pitch, if you like.
The description should answer the following questions:
The starting point in communicating research is the intended audience:
A valuable event
For me, this event was a valuable opportunity to discuss research communications with real-life researchers. In turn, the researchers seemed to appreciate the chance to think about why, how and with whom they should share their findings.
It was good to step back from the words on the page and consider the wider aspects of communicating research. Thank you, Research Retold, for providing a forum for us all to do this!*
*Special thanks to Mihaela Gruia for giving permission for all the above images to be used. All are taken from the Research Retold website.