Over the course of the Brackenridge program, we have had riveting discussions regarding the importance of audience design. Research should be conveyed in a way which is accessible to everyone; oftentimes academic writing is so dense and convoluted with jargon that the reader becomes frustrated and chooses not to read the article. By taking the audience into account, research can reach more people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.
When describing a research project to a general audience, it’s important to limit the use of jargon. Those field-specific terms may seem necessary for a proper explanation of the research, but it’s not wise to assume that the audience is familiar with those terms. If jargon is necessary, it should be clearly defined near the beginning of the presentation to ensure that the audience can understand. My research project examines the nature of aphasia, a neurological condition of language impairment often following a stroke. When describing my research to others, I make sure to define aphasia clearly along with any other technical terms that may confuse the audience.
Using analogies to describe complex concepts or methods is a great way to guide the audience through the presentation even when they are not familiar with the subject matter. Analogies can improve audience understanding by presenting the subject matter in a simple, easily understood fashion. Finally, I think that emphasizing the importance of the research is critical for catching the attention of the audience. For example, I find that individuals seem to be more interested in my own project when I mention that the findings could help to improve aphasia treatment methods in the future.
As of now, I intend to pursue a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD). The field is broad, as it encompasses various communication struggles such as speech, hearing, language, and cognitive function. However, many of the professionals I will encounter throughout my education will not be familiar with my niche in the CSD field. Additionally, as I continue my research, I will work alongside professionals in the fields of Psychology and Neuroscience. These disciplines naturally tie together, but each has its own nuances and the professionals in each field will have varying degrees of knowledge regarding the work that I do. By presenting the context of my project clearly, I will be able to work in an interdisciplinary community and utilize the wisdom that professionals in other fields may offer.