53 interesting ways to communcicate your research

My name is Dr Anne Osterrieder. In my role as Lecturer in Biology and Science Communication at Oxford Brookes University, my time is split between lab-based research on plant cells, and science communication projects.

Half of my time I study the inner workings of plant cells using advanced microscopy methods. My special research interest lies in plant Golgi tethering proteins and their possible roles in Golgi biogenesis, structure and regulation of protein trafficking.

In the remaining time I run science communication training for researchers and students and organise public engagement events. These range from hands-on activities for children to expressing scientific concepts through creative writing and online engagement via social media.


A bucket list [https://bucketlist.org/] is a list of things that you want to do before you die: Travel to Paris; swim with dolphins; see the Northern Lights. Surely, I cannot be the only academic with a bucket list of different ways to communicate my research? ‘Conference talk’ – tick. ‘Scientific paper’ – tick. ‘Tweeting’ – tick.  I have also talked ‘on a stage in a pub’, and in front of 500 A-level students.

’53 interesting ways to communicate your research’, edited by Irenee Daly and Aoife Brophy Haney, [http://pandhp.com/] is a must-read for any researcher looking for innovative and new ways to disseminate their work, or for tips on how to improve their existing practice. The book has three chapters, each bursting to the rims with ideas for communication within academia and beyond, as well as general advice on effective communication techniques.

How do you put together a good poster? Steve Hutchinson recommends telling a simple story instead of showing all your results. Add your research questions as subtitles to grab your audience’s attention, and provide the answers in the text below. Try and limit yourself to 750 words though. To maximise your conference presentation’s reach, have you considered sharing it on YouTube? Esther Barrett provides a short step-by-step introduction to recording a voiced-over video and sharing it on social media. All academic exchanges have been covered: from dealing with peer reviews to developing a great lecture, publishing your research open access, and networking at conferences – do you know how to make a good impression in seven seconds?

Researchers are notoriously pressed for time, and the bite-sized, no-frills format of this book makes it easy to quickly access its information. This is especially important when it comes to areas that still might be unknown territory for many academics, such as public engagement or technology-enhanced communication like podcasts, video or social media. To develop a basic social media strategy, Helen Webster suggests exploring different platforms, cross-linking content and keywords, and engaging with your network rather than just posting self-promotion updates.  

Offline or online, it is not just important to communicate the significance of your research, but it is also essential to raise your own profile and visibility. Many researchers dread ‘selling themselves’. But creating a professional online profile can be quick and painless, if you follow Caron King’s advice. She recommends covering these five key questions: ‘What do you do?’ – ‘Why is this important?’ – What are your qualifications and accolades?’ – ‘How did you get to this point in your career?’ and ‘Who are you outside of work?’

’53 ways to communicate your research’ is part of the excellent ’53 things’ series, [https://pandhp.com/series/], which provides helpful tips for dealing with large classes, making seminars or lectures more interesting, and assessing your students.

Irenee Daly & Aoife Brophy Haney (eds), 53 interesting ways to communicate your research (Newmarket: The Professional and Higher Partnership, 2014).


Posted in Book Review

Subscribe to BeJLT

Get email alerts when there is a new issue.
* = required field

Send this page to Kindle

your kindle user name:
(you@kindle.com, without @kindle.com)
Approved E-mail:
(Approved E-mail that kindle will accept)
Kindle base email kindle.com | free.kindle.com
(Use kindle.com to download on wispernet or wifi, use free.kindle.com for wifi only.)
using kindle.com may incur charges)