Communicating scientific research    Technical reports, policy briefs and          making presentations             Anne M...
Outline• Communication: Brief overview• Writing technical reports• Summarising reports• Policy briefs• Oral presentation• ...
Communication: Brief overview
Why communicate?• Good research/assessments/evaluations…  – alone are insufficient to have impact;    findings must be com...
Communicating scienceScientific communication is:• Accurate• Targeted at a specific audience• Clear• Brief• Logical
Four questions to consider• Who do you want to reach?• Why do you want to reach them?• How do you reach them?• What are yo...
Writing style tips• Targeted to specific audience• Clarity: convey exact meaning• Conciseness: fewest possible words• Cont...
Writing technical reports
Technical reports• No absolute rules• Flexibility to suit readers• Short as possible without losing essence• Objectives id...
Good technical reports• Precise, informative title• Well organised layout and format• Style: accurate, fluent and concise•...
Format of technical report• Title page• Acknowledgements• Summary• Table of contents• Introduction/terms of reference/scop...
Format of technical report (2)• Findings• Conclusions• Recommendations• References/bibliography• Appendices
Summarising reports
Summarising reports“Sorry for this long letter, I had no time towrite a short one.”                       Blaise Pascal, 1...
Three sentencesSummarise your story in three sentences:• Problem• Solution• Results
Three sentences: Example• Problem   – Farmers in Zimbabwe find it difficult to sell     goats, so they are not interested ...
Three sentences: Example• Problem   – Schools in District X lack basic facilities such     as classrooms, desks and textbo...
Policy briefs
Policy briefsWhat is a policy brief?• Succinct presentation of a problem, its  context and recommendations• Goal: to promp...
Policy briefsTwo types:• Advocacy – argues for a particular  course of action• Objective – balanced information for  polic...
Structure of a policy brief•   Title             • Body•   Authors           • Evidence•   Summary           • Examples (b...
Characteristics of a policy brief (1)• Focused on achieving purpose   – Language, design, argument, evidence…• Professiona...
Characteristics of a policy brief (2)• Limited  – Focus on a particular problem or issue• Succinct  – Short and sweet  – 2...
Outline for policy brief• What is the aim of the policy brief?• Which issue will best capture audience  attention?• What b...
Oral presentation
Oral presentation• Types: PowerPoint slides, posters,  giving interviews, answering  questions, panel discussions• Four st...
Making a presentation•   Audience•   Plan and rehearse•   Stress important point•   Speak clearly•   Enthusiasm•   Avoid d...
Delivering the message• Include major points of presentation  – Introduce the point  – Explain and support  – Transition q...
Designing a PowerPoint     presentation
Preparing PowerPoint slides•   Simple•   Limit bullets, text and animations•   High quality graphics•   Avoid PowerPoint t...
Typeface• Solid block (sans serif)• Larger font size for titles than text (36  points, 20 points, 28 points)• Upper and lo...
Layout•   Generous margins•   Text and image: 75% of space•   Start at the top-left corner•   Most important information a...
Avoid heavy content• 6 words per line• 6 lines per slide• 36 words per slide
Example slides
Gender equality in KenyaAccording to the recent reports from theKenyan Ministry of Labor, 72% of part-timeworkers in Kenya...
Most part-time workers are women  Men                                                 Women   ADAPTED FROM: WWW.PRESENTATI...
Objectives• Identify and test production technologies  for increased fish productivity• Increase knowledge and skills base...
Task• Working in country groups, choose a  topic• Design a cover slide and two content  slides• Be ready to present to the...
Things to remember
Importance of communication   To have impact, your work must be   communicated to the right people
Critical steps to rememberBefore you communicate:  • Clarify your message  • Target your audience  • Strategise your appro...
Anyone can learn effective communication.   The more you do it, the better you get.
References• For summarising reports and policy briefs  www.mamud.com• Klaus von Grebmer, Suresh Babu, Valerie  Rhoe and Mi...
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Communicating research for re saksss safari park 26 june 2012

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African Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS)
Strategic policy analysis 24 06
by African Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) on Jun 27, 2012 Edit

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ReSAKSS-AfricaLead Workshop on Strengthening Capacity for Strategic Agricultural Policy and Investment Planning and Implementation in Africa
Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, June 25th‐ 26th 2012

Published in: Education, Technology
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  • Think about communication at project conceptualisation. You need to communicate throughout the project, whether by email, telephone, reports...
  • The results of a good piece of work need to be communicated, and communicated well. The goal of any piece of work is to have an impact.
  • Regardless of the communication product, you must communicate clearly. Scope: the term scientific communication denotes reporting original research in journals through scientific papers in a standard format. It can also include communication about science through other types of journal articles such as review papers that summarise, analyse evaluate or synthesise information that has already been published. In an even broader sense scientific writing includes other types of professional communication by scientists, e.g. Grant proposals, technical reports, oral presentations and poster presentations. Style: straightforward (basic requirement is if something can be misinterpreted, it is wrong); Efficient (it aims to maximise the amount of information and the understanding of this information therefore the style is short, concise, but logical and easy to comprehend). The style is non-intuitive, it has to be learned. It is not easy to learn. Basic principle is if the same information can be given in fewer words, shorten it.
  • When designing a communication strategy you must answer these questions: who do you want to reach, why do you want to reach them, how do you reach them, and what do you want to tell them? Answering these four questions will provide the basis for how to communicate your research results. Answering these four questions is a pre-requisite for implementing a communication effort.
  • There are certain groups that you will target to achieve certain end results. Be clear who your target is and write so that this audience understands. The target audience drives strategy: if you want to sell sneakers to teenagers, you use TV and radio programmes that they like; if you want to target donors, policy makers, go where you are likely to reach them, e.g. Media outlets (newspapers, magazines, ntional and international news programmes), conferences... Clarity: make sure you say exactly what you mean Conciseness: use the fewest words possible to say what you need to. If something can be said in fewer words and still make sense, use fewer words Continuity: make your communication a complete story that flows from beginning to end Objectivity: stick to the facts
  • These can be reports of assessments, evaluations, mid-term reports, final reports… Regardless of the type of report, the following rules apply
  • This is a general format that differs depending on the organization and personal preference.
  • Why should you know how to summarise reports? You need to write executive summaries, summaries, presentations. This is something that we learned how to do in school. Elevator pitch: imagine you are in an elevator/lift with Bill Gates and you have 3 minutes to sell your project to him so that he funds it. How would you do this?
  • You can do this using three sentences. Break down your project into the problem, the solution and the results, one or two sentences for each.
  • This is a general format, not all organisations include all these sections
  • When planning your presentation you first need to firmly establish the purpose of your presentation. This may already be set by the organizers. If not, then determine what you want to get across to your audience. Do you want them to learn about a new methodology or the results of a project? Is it a presentation for the final results or is the project still in progress and you want to receive feedback on how to proceed. A firm purpose make developing the information for the presentation much easier. It helps eliminate unnecessary information. EXAMPLE: Your audience is four ministers of agriculture. Three ministers have a PhD and the other has a masters. How will this shape your presentation? Remember: failing to prepare is preparing to fail! Understanding who your audience is very important to the information you present; therefore, it is essential for you to learn the profile of your target audience, then adapt your presentation style to suit your audience.
  • The message that you want to get across to your audience will come during the section of the presentation that is called the “body”. This section will be the longest part of your presentation. In this section, you will present your major points. Each point should be introduced, explained, and supported. When discussing each point, use examples to help clarify your points, and provide both sides of the issue to make your presentation appear balanced. Refer to your notes, do not read everything you have written down. Don’t turn your back on the audience.
  • When using PowerPoint and transparencies, there are several rules that should be followed rigorously. To make it easier for the audience to read your slides use sans serif typeface for headlines and text (i.e. Arial, Calibri). The title should be in a larger font than the text of the slide. The suggested size for the title is 36-point, and the smallest font size for the text of the body should be 20-point (I suggest 28 point if you can accommodate everything you need). Write the text in both upper and lower-case letters. This will make it easier to read. Use colour, bold, and italics to add emphasis but do not use too much, otherwise the audience will not know what is really important. Beware of red, some people cannot see it.
  • When preparing slides make sure that they are easy to read. Allow generous margins around the edges. Text and image should occupy about 75% of the space. The extra white space helps the eyes focus on the key points. When listing information on the slide, place the most important information at the top of the slide and make sure the sequence of the materials listed is logical. If you are presenting to people with a left-to-right written language, then the text of the presentation should start at the top-left corner, and left justify the text. Avoid centred text except for headings. Formatting should be consistent throughout the presentation.
  • Each slide should contain a maximum of 6 lines with 6 words per line, which makes a total of 36 words. Following these guidelines will ensure that the audience can easily read the text; however, going over by a word or two would not cause too much harm. If you find that there are too many words, then step back from your presentation and determine if there is shorter way to write the same point.
  • Communicating research for re saksss safari park 26 june 2012

    1. 1. Communicating scientific research Technical reports, policy briefs and making presentations Anne Marie Nyamu Consultant Science Editor/Writer 26 June 2012
    2. 2. Outline• Communication: Brief overview• Writing technical reports• Summarising reports• Policy briefs• Oral presentation• Designing a PowerPoint presentation• Things to remember
    3. 3. Communication: Brief overview
    4. 4. Why communicate?• Good research/assessments/evaluations… – alone are insufficient to have impact; findings must be communicated to the right people – merit good communication• Goal = impact
    5. 5. Communicating scienceScientific communication is:• Accurate• Targeted at a specific audience• Clear• Brief• Logical
    6. 6. Four questions to consider• Who do you want to reach?• Why do you want to reach them?• How do you reach them?• What are your main messages?
    7. 7. Writing style tips• Targeted to specific audience• Clarity: convey exact meaning• Conciseness: fewest possible words• Continuity: logical, complete story• Objectivity: be factual/honest
    8. 8. Writing technical reports
    9. 9. Technical reports• No absolute rules• Flexibility to suit readers• Short as possible without losing essence• Objectives identify what is covered• Most important person is the reader
    10. 10. Good technical reports• Precise, informative title• Well organised layout and format• Style: accurate, fluent and concise• Figures and tables well presented and clearly labelled
    11. 11. Format of technical report• Title page• Acknowledgements• Summary• Table of contents• Introduction/terms of reference/scope• Procedure
    12. 12. Format of technical report (2)• Findings• Conclusions• Recommendations• References/bibliography• Appendices
    13. 13. Summarising reports
    14. 14. Summarising reports“Sorry for this long letter, I had no time towrite a short one.” Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662•Why summarise a report?•How do you summarise a report?(elevator pitch; used with investors)
    15. 15. Three sentencesSummarise your story in three sentences:• Problem• Solution• Results
    16. 16. Three sentences: Example• Problem – Farmers in Zimbabwe find it difficult to sell goats, so they are not interested in raising them• Solution – The project has introduced an auction system that gives farmers a good price for their animals• Results – As a result, farmers in 10 villages are now investing in goat raising
    17. 17. Three sentences: Example• Problem – Schools in District X lack basic facilities such as classrooms, desks and textbooks• Solution – The project is encouraging parents and local people to get involved in managing the schools• Results – In five schools, parent associations are now helping build classrooms and raising money to buy textbooks
    18. 18. Policy briefs
    19. 19. Policy briefsWhat is a policy brief?• Succinct presentation of a problem, its context and recommendations• Goal: to prompt change
    20. 20. Policy briefsTwo types:• Advocacy – argues for a particular course of action• Objective – balanced information for policy maker to decide on course of action
    21. 21. Structure of a policy brief• Title • Body• Authors • Evidence• Summary • Examples (boxes)• Recommendations • Tables and graphics• Background • Conclusions • References • Supporting information • Acknowledgements
    22. 22. Characteristics of a policy brief (1)• Focused on achieving purpose – Language, design, argument, evidence…• Professional – Not academic – Focus: what research findings mean, not how research was done• Based on evidence – Rational argument – Show consequences of recommended action
    23. 23. Characteristics of a policy brief (2)• Limited – Focus on a particular problem or issue• Succinct – Short and sweet – 2 pages (700 words) to 8 pages (3000 words max)• Easy to understand – Clear, simple language – No jargon
    24. 24. Outline for policy brief• What is the aim of the policy brief?• Which issue will best capture audience attention?• What background information does audience need?• Which data are most important to include for audience?• What are the policy options? (if appropriate to aim)• What recommendations will you make?
    25. 25. Oral presentation
    26. 26. Oral presentation• Types: PowerPoint slides, posters, giving interviews, answering questions, panel discussions• Four steps: – Plan – Prepare – Practise – Present
    27. 27. Making a presentation• Audience• Plan and rehearse• Stress important point• Speak clearly• Enthusiasm• Avoid distracting actions• Prepare for “the unplanned”
    28. 28. Delivering the message• Include major points of presentation – Introduce the point – Explain and support – Transition quickly and smoothly to next point• Give examples• Provide all sides of the issue• Don’t waste time• Summarise
    29. 29. Designing a PowerPoint presentation
    30. 30. Preparing PowerPoint slides• Simple• Limit bullets, text and animations• High quality graphics• Avoid PowerPoint templates• Appropriate charts• Colour
    31. 31. Typeface• Solid block (sans serif)• Larger font size for titles than text (36 points, 20 points, 28 points)• Upper and lower-case letters• Use colour, bold, or italics for emphasis
    32. 32. Layout• Generous margins• Text and image: 75% of space• Start at the top-left corner• Most important information at the top• Flush-left text• Consistent format
    33. 33. Avoid heavy content• 6 words per line• 6 lines per slide• 36 words per slide
    34. 34. Example slides
    35. 35. Gender equality in KenyaAccording to the recent reports from theKenyan Ministry of Labor, 72% of part-timeworkers in Kenya are women. This is thehighest rate reported to date. The number ofpart-time workers has been increasing formany years. For many women, full-timeemployment is not available or their familyobligations make it impossible for them to keepfull-time hours. Below are some comments onthe issue:“The Kenyan office environment is not yetconducive to promoting full gender equality”Senior LecturerNairobi University ADAPTED FROM: WWW.PRESENTATIONZEN.BLOGS.COM
    36. 36. Most part-time workers are women Men Women ADAPTED FROM: WWW.PRESENTATIONZEN.BLOGS.COM
    37. 37. Objectives• Identify and test production technologies for increased fish productivity• Increase knowledge and skills base of small-scale fish farmers
    38. 38. Task• Working in country groups, choose a topic• Design a cover slide and two content slides• Be ready to present to the group15 minutes
    39. 39. Things to remember
    40. 40. Importance of communication To have impact, your work must be communicated to the right people
    41. 41. Critical steps to rememberBefore you communicate: • Clarify your message • Target your audience • Strategise your approach • Practise speaking • Disseminate widely
    42. 42. Anyone can learn effective communication. The more you do it, the better you get.
    43. 43. References• For summarising reports and policy briefs www.mamud.com• Klaus von Grebmer, Suresh Babu, Valerie Rhoe and Michael Rubinstein. Communicating food policy research: A guidebook. IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute)

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