Talking Science Over a Pint?

A theme had started to arise in the science communication talks I have attended both Mark Blacklock and Rachel Kerr mentioned ‘science over a pint’. I’m not speculating about the amount of alcoholic units scientists consume in a week but I couldn’t help notice the pattern.

They were of course referring to simplifying journals or research in order to explain in ‘laymen’s terms’ to your friend down the pub on a Friday night, and using it as a base for starting a press release or news story. I’ve found no matter what your writing the audience comes first. It’s always hard to judge how well informed they may already be. Patronise someone and they may never read anything you write again but make it incomprehensible and you may not get your point across at all.

Most scientist face this problem from your gran asking ‘so what do you actually do?’ to getting interviewed by Bill and Susanna on the BBC breakfast sofa, if your very lucky. The talks and workshops so far have been very helpful in aiding me to think about my audience. Once you’ve identified the level you are aiming to write for, you know what you want to write and that you have all your facts correct, the story is half written. I’ve also picked up the importance of letting the reader know how the research relates to them and how quotes will always make your story more credible

A glossy photo never hurts either.


About juliarosencl

I’m Julia Rose Humes and my main area of interest is the biochemistry of brains. Give me an intracellular pathway that leads to cell death in neurons or a drug that can affect how brain cells respond and I’m your girl. I don’t pretend to be an expert on anything but I am constantly amazed by scientific research and discoveries, and that’s my reason for wanting to be part of this blog. I hope that my career path will lead down the rabbit hole into a laboratory working on neurodegeneration but I intend keep up the hobby of scientific writing as much as I can. Science can be scary when your first starting out or don’t have a scientific background. I remember trying to read a journal article in the first few weeks of my undergraduate degree and even the title gave me a headache. If I can be any help in explaining the science behind the news or just present the intriguing science that hasn’t made it onto the TV, my job will be done.
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2 Responses to Talking Science Over a Pint?

  1. jessicarose11 says:

    Funny intro, with interesting points, you make a number of similar points but refrain from repeating yourself which keeps the blog flowing

  2. leahdey says:

    I like how you mentioned making the story too simple and patronising can steer readers away, but at the same time making it too complicated will just lose them – getting the balance right is key!
    Also, I agree that a story/research that the audience can relate to are the best, at the end of the day people are more concerned about how what they are reading affects them!

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