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Communicating Discovery-Based Research Results to the News: A Real-World Lesson in Science Communication for Undergraduate Students

    Author: Julie Torruellas Garcia1
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 03 November 2017 Accepted 28 November 2017 Published 30 March 2018
    • ©2018 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: Nova Southeastern University, 3301 College Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314. Phone: 954-262-8195. E-mail: jg1511@nova.edu.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1516
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    Abstract:

    Communicating science effectively to the general public is a necessary skill that takes practice. Generally, undergraduate science majors are taught to communicate to other scientists but are not given formal training on how to communicate with a nonscientist. An opportunity to appear on a news segment can be used as a real-world lesson on science communication for your students. This article will describe how to contact a producer to get your class on a news segment, ideas for types of research that may be of interest to the media, and how to practice communicating the results effectively.

References & Citations

1. Peters HP2013Gap between science and media revisited: scientists as public communicatorsProc Natl Acad Sci110141021410910.1073/pnas.1212745110239403123752168 http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1212745110
2. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine2017Communicating science effectively: a research agendaThe National Academies PressWashington, DC
3. Shugart EC2015Scientists: engage the public!mBio6e019891510.1128/mBio.01989-15266956334701835 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01989-15
4. Brownell SE, Price JV, Steinman L2013Science communication to the general public: why we need to teach undergraduate and graduate students this skill as part of their formal scientific trainingJ Undergrad Neurosci Educ121E6E10243193993852879
5. Cooper KM, Soneral PAG, Brownell SE2017Define your goals before you design a CURE: a call to use backward design in planning course-based undergraduate research experiencesJ Microbiol Biol Educ18210.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1287288611305576764 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1287
6. Leboffe MJ, Pierce BE2015Microbiology: laboratory theory & application4th edMorton Publishing CompanyDenver, CO
7. Chatfield C2014A multi-unit project for building scientific confidence via authentic research in identification of environmental bacterial isolatesJ Microbiol Biol Educ1532532710.1128/jmbe.v15i2.789 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.789
8. Hayes R, Grossman D2006A scientist’s guide to talking with the media: practical advice from the Union of Concerned ScientistsRutgers University PressNew Brunswick, NJwww.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/global_warming/UCS_Desk_Reference_Scientists_Guide.pdf
9. Rakedzon T, Segev E, Chapnik N, Yosef R, Baram-Tsabari A2017Automatic jargon identifier for scientists engaging with the public and science communication educatorsPLOS One128e018174210.1371/journal.pone.0181742287929455549884 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181742
10. Somerville RCJ, Hassol SJ2011Communicating the science of climate changePhys Today6410485310.1063/PT.3.1296 http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/PT.3.1296
11. Spicer S2017The nuts and bolts of evaluating science communication activitiesSemin Cell Dev Biol70172510.1016/j.semcdb.2017.08.02628823946 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semcdb.2017.08.026

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1516
2018-03-30
2018-07-18

Abstract:

Communicating science effectively to the general public is a necessary skill that takes practice. Generally, undergraduate science majors are taught to communicate to other scientists but are not given formal training on how to communicate with a nonscientist. An opportunity to appear on a news segment can be used as a real-world lesson on science communication for your students. This article will describe how to contact a producer to get your class on a news segment, ideas for types of research that may be of interest to the media, and how to practice communicating the results effectively.

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