Research Communication: Comparisons with the Old and Context for the New

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              In order to explain the significance of my research to someone outside of my field, I know I will need to establish the context in clear terms and build from there, being careful to not make any jumps in logic that would make it hard to follow for that general audience. I’ve already conducted a survey to gauge the baseline knowledge my peers have about Japan. Working off this data, one rule of thumb I’ve adopted is to explain a bit past the point indicated by the survey results. For example, the results have indicated that most people knew the emperor who reigned during World War II by name, but were not familiar with his specific policies or contributions. As such, the explanation in my project will provide proper context for his rise to power, allowing for a better understanding of the circumstances of his rule in addition to the specific notable facts about the war.

              Providing the proper context is one step, but in order to truly convey the significance, another strategy I might use is the implementation of easy-to-understand comparisons. Even outside of my specific topic, a dataset’s significance is often communicated by pointing out equivalent, more familiar concepts. For example, in a quantitative setting, the incredible size of an object in space might be expressed in the number of Earth-sized objects it could theoretically fit inside. I believe this sort of comparison can be applied to more qualitative research as well, where the familiar points of reference are based in common traditions of the West, helping to show the common threads of society between different cultures while noting the key points of diversion.

              My professional goals largely revolve around some form of creative storytelling. For the creation of fiction, I need to keep the demographics of my target audience in mind. To a certain extent, however, I will need to treat the world and characters I’m creating as a sort of field of study of its own. By this I mean that even more care needs to be given to establishing the proper context and drawing comparisons, because to a certain extent every reader will be someone who knows nothing about my “field.” When combining this storytelling goal with the larger goal of story-driven game development, those I interact with in my pursuit will also need to understand the interactive gameplay elements. I will need to communicate clearly and concisely how the mechanics I’ve created work both independently and together. Additionally, given that the experience of playing a game goes beyond simply reading text, I need to keep the topic of accessibility in mind. Creating flexible control options and user-friendly, customizable game settings will ensure that the audience I reach is as wide as possible.

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