Category: Academic communication

We need our scientists to build models that frame our policies, not to tell stories that shape them

One of the principal ways in which research can be said to have had an impact on society is when it is judged to have shaped public policy. Storytelling is increasingly presented as an effective way of doing this, with researchers encouraged to construct narratives that point towards a clear “moral”, something to be done. Thomas Basbøll argues that researchers […]

What can interdisciplinary collaborations learn from the science of team science?

Teamwork makes the dream work, and for interdisciplinary collaborations there are many lessons to be learned from the science of team science. Suzi Spitzer shares ten such lessons here: start by assembling participants with a variety of social skills, such as negotiation and social perceptiveness; avoid jargon and make sure shared words have shared meaning; and accept that conflict, while […]

Mastering the art of the narrative: using stories to shape public policy

There can be little doubt people believe narratives are important and that crafting, manipulating, or influencing them likely shapes public policy. But how does one actually do this? To Michael D. Jones and Deserai Crow, it starts by understanding the component parts of a narrative and configuring those in a way that maximises your chances of success. Setting the stage, […]

There is a large disparity between what people see in social media about health research and the underlying strength of evidence

Our social media feeds are full of articles shared by friends and family that make claims about how something can prevent a particular health condition. But how robust is the scientific evidence base underpinning these claims? Noah Haber, Alexander Breskin, Ellen Moscoe and Emily R. Smith, on behalf of the CLAIMS team, report on a systematic review of the state of […]

r/ip: why science communicators should mourn the loss of reddit’s Ask Me Anything series

Social news website reddit is home to one of the world’s largest online science communities, r/science. The community ran a popular Ask Me Anything Q&A series that saw hundreds of academics quizzed on their area of expertise by an inquisitive online audience. However, following reddit’s decision to rely solely on its algorithm to surface content to its users, the r/science […]

The right messaging should be the cornerstone of your research communications strategy

Key to communicating your research successfully is having the right messaging. This will give you the best chance of capturing the attention of important stakeholders, while also ensuring all members of your research team are singing from the same song sheet. Kevin Anselmo offers some pointers on how to put together your message map; beginning with your overarching theme, building […]

Materiality of Research: can imaginative projects complement (and not displace) more critical research?

Can projects of reimagining complement more critical research? Writing in response to comments on her recent work on reimagining the state, Davina Cooper addresses the challenge of developing transformative methods, the value of institutional play in academic research and the relationship these may have to more overtly “critical” accounts. This version of this post first appeared on LSE Review of Books and is […]

Software updates: the “unknown unknown” of the replication crisis

The replication crisis is largely concerned with known problems, such as the lack of replication standards, non-availability of data, or p-hacking. One hitherto unknown problem is the potential for software companies’ changes to the algorithms used for calculations to cause discrepancies between two sets of reported results. Anastasia Ershova and Gerald Schneider encountered this very problem in the course of […]

A scientific paper shouldn’t tell a good story but present a strong argument

A recent Impact Blog post extolled the benefits of using a storytelling approach when writing a scientific paper. However, while such an approach might well make for a compelling read, does providing an arresting narrative come at the expense of the reader’s critical engagement with the paper? Thomas Basbøll argues that the essential “drama” of any scientific paper stems from […]

A scientific paper shouldn’t tell a good story but present a strong argument

A recent Impact Blog post extolled the benefits of using a storytelling approach when writing a scientific paper. However, while such an approach might well make for a compelling read, does providing an arresting narrative come at the expense of the reader’s critical engagement with the paper? Thomas Basbøll argues that the essential “drama” of any scientific paper stems from […]