1887

Annotated Primary Literature: A Professional Development Opportunity in Science Communication for Graduate Students and Postdocs

    Authors: Melissa McCartney1,2,3,*, Chazman Childers1, Rachael R. Baiduc4,5, Kitch Barnicle6
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    Affiliations: 1: STEM Transformation Institute, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199; 2: Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199; 3: Department of Education and Human Resources, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005; 4: Northwestern University Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, Evanston, IL 60208; 5: Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80305; 6: CIRTL/Wisconsin Center for Education Research, Madison, WI 53706
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 07 August 2017 Accepted 02 December 2017 Published 30 March 2018
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Florida International University, Department of Biological Sciences, 11200 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33199. Phone: 305-348-7165. E-mail: mmccartn@fiu.edu.
    • ©2018 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1439
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    Abstract:

    Formal training in communicating science to a general audience is not traditionally included in graduate and postdoctoral-level training programs. However, the ability to effectively communicate science is increasingly recognized as a responsibility of professional scientists. We describe a science communication professional development opportunity in which scientists at the graduate-level and above annotate primary scientific literature, effectively translating complex research into an accessible educational tool for undergraduate students. We examined different types of annotator training, each with its own populations and evaluation methods, and surveyed participants about why they participated, the confidence they have in their self-reported science communication skills, and how they plan to leverage this experience to advance their science careers. Additionally, to confirm that annotators were successful in their goal of making the original research article easier to read, we performed a readability analysis on written annotations and compared that with the original text of the published paper. We found that both types of annotator training led to a gain in participants’ self-reported confidence in their science communication skills. Also, the annotations were significantly more readable than the original paper, indicating that the training was effective. The results of this work highlight the potential of annotator training to serve as a value-added component of scientific training at and above the graduate level.

References & Citations

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2018-03-30
2018-06-18

Abstract:

Formal training in communicating science to a general audience is not traditionally included in graduate and postdoctoral-level training programs. However, the ability to effectively communicate science is increasingly recognized as a responsibility of professional scientists. We describe a science communication professional development opportunity in which scientists at the graduate-level and above annotate primary scientific literature, effectively translating complex research into an accessible educational tool for undergraduate students. We examined different types of annotator training, each with its own populations and evaluation methods, and surveyed participants about why they participated, the confidence they have in their self-reported science communication skills, and how they plan to leverage this experience to advance their science careers. Additionally, to confirm that annotators were successful in their goal of making the original research article easier to read, we performed a readability analysis on written annotations and compared that with the original text of the published paper. We found that both types of annotator training led to a gain in participants’ self-reported confidence in their science communication skills. Also, the annotations were significantly more readable than the original paper, indicating that the training was effective. The results of this work highlight the potential of annotator training to serve as a value-added component of scientific training at and above the graduate level.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

SitC presents the original text of research articles along with a “learning lens” that highlights the parts of the text for which there are annotations. Clicking on the highlighted text reveals the annotation. For example, clicking on an annotated glossary term produces a pop-up box containing the definition of the term. Annotations are color-coded by category (see Table 1 for a description of the categories).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1439
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

CIRTL course survey-response data for selected prompts. Pre- and post-course responses are matched ( = 8; = 7 for panel C) in order to graph how individual scores changed over the course of the training. The -axis is the corresponding Likert scale to these prompts as follows: (A) 1 = no experience, 2 = little experience, 3 = some experience, 4 = much experience, 5 = extensive experience; (B–F) 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neutral, 4 = agree, 5 = strongly agree. The number of students whose responses were identical pre- and post-course (horizontal line) is indicated by the ( = x) notation when it is greater than 1.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1439
Download as Powerpoint
Image of FIGURE 3

Click to view

FIGURE 3

CIRTL course survey-response data for selected prompts. Pre- and post-course responses are matched ( = 8 for A and B, = 7 for C) in order to graph how individual scores changed over the course of the training. The -axis is the corresponding Likert scale as follows: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neutral, 4 = agree, 5 = strongly agree. The number of students whose responses were identical pre- and post-course survey (horizontal line) is indicated by the ( = x) notation when it is greater than 1.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1439
Download as Powerpoint

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