Science Communication Workshop

Science Communication Workshop

Photo by Kei Lin Chang

This April, I co-led a Science Communication Workshop for Oregon State University researchers. The participants hailed from geology, oceanography, atmospheric science and other disciplines within OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science.

The goal of the workshop was to teach researchers the basics of science communication. Specifically, we employed one helpful tool: the COMPASS Message Box (available here), which instructs scientists to break their research down into distilled talking points. I led the participants through the message box and facilitated individual and group work sessions.

Discussing the how to tailor a message to a specific audience. Photo by Kei Lin Chang

The attendees ranged from faculty to graduate students, and I am continually impressed by researchers who dedicate their time towards communicating science. There is a prevailing notion in science that spending time on communicating research diverts from doing research. But, as one faculty told us at the end of the workshop,

“I had been stuck on the introduction of a research paper for weeks. Now, I think I’ve got it.”

 What makes a catchy hook? In break-out sessions, the group discussed. Photo by Kei Lin Chang

The idea that working on science communication skills would help faculty members write better papers for other scientists is an example of how communication helps everyone.

A participant types on her laptop during individual work time. We prioritized work time over presentations to give researchers the chance to dig in and work on a product to take home with them. Photo by Kei Lin Chang

It goes back to a quote by Mónica I. Feliú-Mójer, who wrote in a Scientific American article: “When scientists communicate more effectively, science thrives.”

We think so too.

See more pictures from the workshop by Kei Lin Chang on this Flickr Album.