Communicating research to a lay audience, 2018-2019

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Communicating research to a lay audience, 2018-2019

Teaching staff
Madelijn Strick (UU), Laurens van Gestel (UU), Stephanie Helfferich (UU), ARTESC.

Type of course
Methodological and Practical Courses

May 27, 2019

Utrecht University, room to be announced.

1 day


0.5 EC



Science communication is becoming increasingly important for and popular amongst researchers. In order to write successful grant applications and be effective in job interviews, teaching, and media performances, scientists have to be able to engage with a wider audience. Public understanding of science is a challenging but important aim and there are several ways to reach out with your research.

Several initiatives exist that promote communicating scientific results to a lay audience. Think of popular scientific journals and blogs. Academic journals also emphasize the importance of science communication. This trend is also reflected in the Altmetric Attention Score, a score that is based on attention gained in online and traditional media.

In this course, you will learn how to communicate your research effectively to a lay audience. The focus will be on the written and spoken forms of communication.

In the morning session, the focus will lie on popular scientific writing. Students will learn about the basic ingredients of great stories which are used by successful writers and other storytellers. They learn how to structure a text in order to grab attention, build suspense and raise curiosity in readers. Then they will apply this knowledge to their own project by using these ingredients to write an engaging text about their own research. They will receive extensive feedback from the teachers and from peers.

In the afternoon, the focus will lie on spoken form of communicating with a lay audience. In addition to practicing with the skill of storytelling, students will learn about theater skills such as voice intonation, gestures, and timing. Theory will be discussed and practical tips will be given. Students will present their research in an engaging way and will receive feedback on their presentation.

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