SLI hosts workshop at AAAS on communicating science to public audiences

03/20/2017

SLI hosts AAAS workshop to explore (1) the importance of communication of scientific findings to broad audiences, (2) the traditional approach to dissemination and its limitations, (3) how to make science understandable and meaningful to general audiences while at the same time preserving scientific integrity, and (4) best practices in communicating scientific findings to target audiences.


SLI’s Kelly Fisher and Kristin Gagnier hosted a workshop on communicating science to non-scientific audiences at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in February.  The workshop brought the SLI team together with David Grimm the online editor of Science, Sarah Lytle from the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington, and Stephanie Wood-Garnett from the Alliance for Excellent Education to discuss the importance of dissemination of scientific findings for the advancement of science and society.  A brief description of the workshop can be found below. 

A handout with strategies and tips for communicating science to non-scientific audiences can be found here.

Workshop Description:  Stephen Jay Gould noted, “So many scientists think that once they figure it out, that’s all they have to do, and writing it up is just a chore. I never saw it that way. Part of the art of any kind of total scholarship is to say it well.”  Dissemination of scientific findings to general audiences is critical for at least two reasons: science can inform policy and practice, and policy and practice can affect the conduct of science.  For these reasons among others, scientists and the academic community increasingly recognize the importance of the dissemination of research findings to the general public and policy-makers.  Despite its acknowledged value, scientists rarely receive any formal training in how to effectively communicate research findings to broad audiences.  In this workshop, we bring together scientists and science disseminators to explore (1) the importance of communication of scientific findings to broad audiences, (2) the traditional approach to dissemination and its limitations, (3) how to make science understandable and meaningful to a general audience while at the same time preserving scientific integrity, and (4) best practices, strategies, and tips for communicating scientific findings to target audiences.