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Communicating Science

   
   
   
   

 



Communicating Science to the Public

 


 

Communicating Science to the Nonspecialists (General Guidelines)

 

Psci-com: Science Communication Resource Database – Psci-com is an online database (managed by the U.K.’s Wellcome Trust Library) that provides public access to online resources relating to science communication and public engagement. It is aimed at scientists wishing to communicate their research to lay audiences, science educators and anyone with an interest in science and society.

CDC: “Scientific and Technical Information - Simply Put” (1999) – This comprehensive guide from the CDC provides tips for creating easy-to-read print materials that your audience will want to read and use.

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC): “Communicating Your Ideas: How to Tell the Nonspecialist about Your Research” (PDF) – This publication from the NERC looks at how scientists can effectively communicate about their research results (and other complex scientific information) in simple language that is easily understood by a lay audience.

The U.K. Royal Society: “Survey Report on Factors Affecting Science Communication” – The Royal Society conducted a survey among U.K. scientists to examine the factors affecting science communication. The survey report provides recommendations for strategies that help encourage scientists to effectively communicate with stakeholders including the public, the media and policy makers.

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO): “Media Tips for Scientists: Communicating with Non-Scientific Audiences” – The EMBO provides an abridged version of the U.K. Royal Society's guidelines (see above) for scientists working with the media, which organizes information by subject area/topic.

The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Science and Public Engagement” (Oct. 2006) – In this article, Dr. Alan Leshner shares the lessons learned from public engagement communication efforts surrounding the launch of the Human Genome Project. He describes how dialogue can help assuage public fears about advances in technology, new areas of research and discoveries in human genetics.

National Human Genome Research Institute (NIH/NHGRI): “Speaking About Genetics” – Speaking about genetics to audiences outside of the scientific community can be challenging. The following resources can help researchers prepare for presentations and speaking engagements that address non-scientists:


 

Communicating to Nonspecialists about Genetics & Public Health Issues:

 

CDC National Office of Public Health Genomics (NOPHG) - The CDC/NOPHG Web site provides a wealth of information and materials on the clinical applications of genetics in general health care practice, the resulting impact on public health, and related ethical, legal and social issues:

University of Washington: “Resources for Scientists on Effective Communication and Writing in Public Health Genetics” – A series of resources for scientists on multidisciplinary writing and communication skills, including links to online information, journal articles and PDF files of helpful handouts with writing tips. Both scientists and members of the media will want to review the “Rules to Write By” guide for more helpful information about science writing.

The Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) – ASHG is a member of the COPUS peer network, which is a grassroots group of organizations that share the common goal of achieving a greater public understanding of the nature of science and its value to society. A key objective of COPUS is to build bridges among its participants, creating new forums for communication and developing new partnerships for engaging the public in science education efforts.

 

 

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