Promoting your research

This is the blog post to accompany the ‘Promoting your research workshop’ at 2021 Ecology Across Borders in Liverpool. Whether you made it to the conference or not, you can find some useful tips here on how to communicate your research to a wide audience.

Davy Falkner – Media Relations Officer

Our BES Media Relations Officer gives a run down of how to find the news hook in your paper and what to think about when writing a press release

What makes a good news story?

  • Human / public interest
  • Impact
  • Novelty
  • Superlatives
  • Timeliness
  • Proximity
  • Unexpected
  • Controversy 

How to highlight news hooks – use 5 Ws and H

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How?

Structure of a press release

Think of an inverted pyramid with your most important, main findings at the top, then you want the implications of your findings with any relevant quotes and finally the background, methods and next steps. You can think of this like an abstract turned on its head.

Dr Laura Graham – Writing an effective plain language summary

Laura Graham, Plain Language Summary Editor for People and Nature gives us some top tips on writing for a non-specialist audience

Why write a plain language summary

  • Extend the reach of your scientific paper
  • Raise profile of work
  • Communication to key stakeholders
  • Get more people reading your work

Read an example of a published article and the accompanying plain language summary here

5 key points to remember when writing your summary:

  • Consider your audience
    • Depending on the paper, this may be policy-makers, scientifically interested public, conservation practitioners, etc.
  • Avoid jargon
    • Excessive acronyms
    • Words specific to field
    • Words / phrases with different meanings to non-scientists
  • Find your key message
    • What did you find, and why does it matter to someone outside of your field?
  • Test it out
    • Can you get a non-scientist, or someone from out of your field to explain your summary back to you? If not, it needs revising
  • Take time to get it right!
    • The summary will get you attention outside of your field – take the time to make it effective and useful for those who read it

If you only remember 3 things!

  1. Write a short and catchy title
  2. Don’t just reword the abstract
  3. Include an illustrative image

Dr Rhosanna Jenkins – Finding the story behind the research

Rhosanna Jenkins, Blog Associate Editor for Journal of Ecology helps us to find the story in the science.

Behind every publication, there’s a story, whether that’s the fieldwork experience, the lessons learned when things went wrong, or the relationships you had on the way.

You might find that your story leads you into thinking about other things in your research, like your experience as a woman or person of colour in ecology, or how your research aligns with global days or current stories. All of these are interesting things for the blog community to read about!

Top tips for blogs

Photos and videos

Not a photographer? Check out these websites with free to use stock images:

Think about your audience

  • Write in plain language – blogs are for a general audience
  • Use short paragraphs and sentences
  • Avoid using too much scientific jargon or complex statistics
  • Remember the evidence – add links to papers

Read other blogs for inspiration!

Check out our Guide to Better Science!

Guide to Promoting Your Research

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