Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tips for Communicating Science to the Public

One of the questions dogging scientists is whether they should speak out about science issues to the public. In the past we've largely stuck to our ivory towers, and been criticized for doing so. On the other hand, scientists have also been criticized for speaking out. Luckily, a recent study shows that the public is more appreciative these days of scientists who choose to talk directly to the public. This is something I've advocated in these pages many times. I've even penned a series of posts on communicating climate science.

Which is why I was happy to come across this article by scientist Marshall Shepherd: 9 Tips for Communicating Science to People Who Are Not Scientists. And of all places, I found it on Forbes magazine's website.

His tips include many I've discussed on these pages:

  • Know Your Audience
  • Don't Use Jargon
  • Get to the Point
  • Use Analogies and Metaphors
  • Make Three Points
  • Remember, You are the Expert
  • Use Social Media
  • The Myth of "Popularizers"
  • Relate

A fellow scientist, writer, and science communicator reminded me this morning that the key to good science communication is brevity. So please read the full article by Marshall Shepherd, 9 Tips for Communicating Science to People Who Are Not Scientists.

Also, check out some additional resources for science communication here.

And let me know if you have any additional tips that we can include in future posts.