Review of Explaining Research by Dennis Meredith
I love to read books, journal articles, and magazines. During the academic semester, I have almost no time to read. I try to catch up during the summers and the Christmas break. This break was no exception, and I got to wrap my fingers around Dennis Meredith’s Explaining Research: How to Reach Key Audiences to Advance Your Work. The book was recommended to me by Mary Golden. He has a blog researchexplainer.com, which is a pleasure to read.
If you are a scientist or a student looking to do a better job communicating with broader audiences, I highly recommend this book as a companion book to Eloquent Science. One of the criticisms of Eloquent Science is that only 6 pages were devoted to communicating with the public. That was by design. I simply wasn’t an expert it in, and I wanted to focus on communicating to other scientists.
Explaining Research has some perfunctory chapters on writing, presenting, and posters, but the real meat of this book comes at p. 80 and after. This part of the book is where the real learning starts. From learning about web pages to social media to news releases and photography to multimedia presentations, and interviews with journalists, this book has the most thorough discussion of this type of material that I have come across.
The book is filled with anecdotes and, like Eloquent Science, is broken up into bite-sized chapters 10–15 pages long, so that you don’t need to read the whole book in order to get the information that you want out of it.
Check out the author’s web page for a Table of Contents, excerpts, tip sheets, and lots of other information.
One very important point that I got from the book is this (p. 26). Avoid using the word “believe” when describing your science. Replace it with “evidence shows” or “we know that”. Speaking and writing like this will indicate to the public that we are just not making this stuff up based on faith. We can demonstrate our hypotheses are valid because of hard evidence.