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CHM 3120L

A research guide created for CHM 3120L: Analytical Chemistry Lab.

Resources for Communicating with Non-Scientists

Some advice when communicating your research:

  • Know your audience: Different groups of people will have a varied levels of knowledge of your topic. For this assignment you are speaking to the general public where the interest in the topic will vary greatly. Pick a target audience and write to them.
  • Define your goals: What do you want people to take away from your presentation/paper?
  • Broader impact: Start by making it clear why they should care about your research and how it can impact society, environment, public policy, health, etc. Lead and end with this information. Give your audience the "so what" of your topic.
  • Limit the jargon: If you use technical terms, provide a definition using simple terms and give examples to improve understanding. Additionally, be sure to spell out abbreviations. 
  • Tell a story: People are more likely to remember you and your work if it is part of a story. 
  • Use visuals: Charts, graphs, and images can tell the viewer a lot of information with few words. Be sure to pick visuals that fit your topic, emphasis your points, and are visually appealing. 
  • Be enthusiastic: Don't let the audience think you are bored by your own research. 
  • References: Support your writing with references to credible sources.

Inspired by and

A table from the article “Communicating the Science of Climate Change,” by Richard C. J. Somerville and Susan Joy Hassol, from the October 2011 issue of Physics Today, page 48:

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