Brackenridge: Communicating My Research

From our readings about communicating research, I have learned many important strategies centering on talking to a general audience. The first of these strategies involve, avoiding the use of jargon. While developmental psychology is often a little more accessible to understand at face value than biological research for example, I have found that being so immersed in the literature of the field I often use jargon without an awareness that I am using jargon. One example of this has been my use of the phrase “parental math talk” (a phrase used to describe any and all math-related speech parents use with their children). Because I have been studying numerical cognition in a lot of depth, parental math talk is a very common phrase we use; however, to the average person outside of the field of developmental psychology, this phrase means nothing. Through our readings and discussions, I have been trying to work on both how to break down this jargon into simpler terms and how to better identify that I am using jargon. In addition to learning how to avoid jargon, an important lesson I have gained from our readings is the importance of making my research relatable to the audience I am addressing. More specifically, laying out how the problem of preterm children disproportionately struggling in math relates to them and why trying to address it matters. One important skill that is more specific to the nature of the research I am doing is the importance of using sensitive language. No one wants to hear that their child will disproportionately struggle in something so vital to success; therefore, it is important for me to be careful about how I address my research to the public.

In the future, I would like to continue doing research professionally. I hope to go to Graduate School and then continue on to be a full-time researcher and potentially a professor. By continuing on the path of developmental psychology research, much of the more general audience for my research will be parents. This is because the findings in research within the field of developmental psychology research can directly inform and help parents. This is a very tricky general audience to address because parenting is incredibly personal and a sensitive area for most people. Oftentimes, research in developmental psychology is labeled as judgmental or offensive by well-intentioned parents. This makes understandable and relatable communication even more vital for the field because otherwise research will be ignored making it virtually meaningless. I hope that I can take the skills I am learning in Brackenridge and expand on them in the future so that I am addressing this general audience with care, consideration, and sensitivity and make my future research matter.

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