Communicating My Research- Alexandra Hughson

When presenting information to a general audience it is most important to focus on the “so what” or takeaway from the research as opposed to the finer details. As researchers who are very passionate about our work and fields it is easy to get wrapped up in small intricacies that although maybe interesting, do not actually help a person outside the field gain understanding. To start, it is necessary to present the overall question you are asking and why this question needs answering. Providing answers to these two questions will help frame the scope of your research while also elaborating on the purpose. Moving forward it may be tempting to really dive into the methods but in reality, a brief overview along with some analogies or metaphors to assist understanding are all that is needed. Lastly, when it comes to explaining results, the focus should be more about their significance and impact and less about the numbers themselves. 

As I move towards graduate school in the pursuit of a PhD, in order to receive grants and scholarships I will often have to present my work to those outside of my field. Although a grant review committee may have several members with graduate degrees in the sciences, this will not necessarily imply that they will be familiar with my specific niche in my field. In other cases, the committee may have very few members with education in the sciences making it even more imperative that I tailor grant proposals to the correct audience. Moving forward in my career, I need to be prepared to adjust the wording and focus on my proposals in order to accommodate a broader audience in order to ensure they are well received.

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