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Science Communication: Public Outreach

This set of guides has been adapted from LibGuides created by the Michigan State University Librarians, Erika Weir, Iris Kovar-Gough and Susan Kendall.

Introduction

Florida Atlantic University is committed to being a force for positive change in its various communities through its leadership and by leveraging the knowledge, expertise, and resources of the university along with those of the community in authentic engagement for mutual benefit. (Source: Dr. Ron Nyhan, Office of Community Engagement)

Through various channels FAU faculty and researchers make an impact by making their research accessible. 

Below are some resources for scientists to better understand how to engage and communicate with the public. Tabs within this page provide resources for different approaches to public outreach and engagement:

  • Citizen Science
  • Blogging & Podcasting

What Are Broader Impacts?

The National Science Foundation (NSF) evaluates requests for funding based both on intellectual merit and broader impacts. NSF defines broader impacts as, "the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes."

Researchers interested in better understanding broader impacts and how they can support this funding criterion through public engagement with their research may find the following resources helpful:

Selected Science Communication Books

Ethics and Practice in Science Communication

From climate to vaccination, stem-cell research to evolution, scientific work is often the subject of public controversies in which scientists and science communicators find themselves enmeshed. Gathering together the work of a multidisciplinary, international collection of scholars, the editors of Ethics and Practice in Science Communication present an enlightening dialogue involving these communities, one that articulates the often differing objectives and ethical responsibilities communicators face in bringing a range of scientific knowledge to the wider world.

Oral Communication Excellence for Engineers and Scientists

Many of us have implemented oral communication instruction in our design courses, lab courses, and other courses where students give presentations. Others have students give presentations without instruction on how to become a better presenter. Many of us, then, could use a concise book that guides us on what instruction on oral communication should include, based on input from executives from different settings. 

Crackle and Fizz : Essential Communication and Pitching Skills for Scientists

This is a book for scientists and other experts who need to explain the significance and potential of their work to colleagues, committees, funding bodies or the general public. It details how to harness story-telling principles to make complex or technical content easier to communicate and fulfilling for audiences.

Designing Science Presentations : A Visual Guide to Figures, Papers, Slides, Posters, and More

Designing Science Presentations guides researchers and graduate students of virtually any discipline in the creation of compelling science communication. Most scientists never receive formal training in the creation, delivery, and evaluation of such material, yet it is essential for publishing in high-quality journals, soliciting funding, attracting lab personnel, and advancing a career.

Presenting Data : How to Communicate Your Message Effectively

Poor presentation of data is everywhere; basic principles are forgotten or ignored. As a result, audiences are presented with confusing tables and charts that do not make immediate sense. This book is intended to be read by all who present data in any form.

MATLAB® and Design Recipes for Earth Sciences : How to Collect, Process and Present Geoscientific Information

The overall aim of the book is to introduce students to the typical course followed by a data analysis project in earth sciences. A project usually involves searching relevant literature, reviewing and ranking published books and journal articles, extracting relevant information from the literature in the form of text, data, or graphs, searching and processing the relevant original data using MATLAB, and compiling and presenting the results as posters, abstracts, and oral presentations using graphics design software. The text of this book includes numerous examples on the use of internet resources, on the visualization of data with MATLAB, and on preparing scientific presentations.

53 interesting ways to communicate your research

Effective researchers need both to conduct high-quality research and to communicate it - to subject specialists, researchers in other fields, research participants, business, government, the third sector, or the public, not to mention potential employers, funders and sponsors. There are many ways to do so: examples include applications and bids, conference presentations, gray literature, journal papers, media (old and new), public talks, and teaching. This book provides fresh, creative, ways of making the most of these and other opportunities.