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Lecture 4: Research Communication and an Introduction to the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)


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Lecture 4: Research Communication and an Introduction to the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)
Ms. Nancy Pham (UNU-IAS)
2019 ProSPER.Net Young Researchers' School
4 March 2019

Published in: Environment
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Lecture 4: Research Communication and an Introduction to the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)

  1. 1. ResearchCommunication andanIntroductiontothe ThreeMinuteThesis(3MT®) Nancy Pham Communications Coordinator, ESD Programme, UNU-IAS Y O U N G R E S E A R C H E R S ' S C H O O L : L E C T U R E 4
  2. 2. Agenda RESEARCH COMMUNICATION Presenting your message Audience selection Tips and tools Science & storytelling INTRODUCTION TO THE THREE MINUTE THESIS (3MT®) Rules Your 3MT® challenge
  3. 3. Research Communication
  4. 4. “For researchers to be “good” researchers, they need to be “good” communicators.” D É S I R É E G O U B E R T , C H I E F E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R O F M I N D M I N T
  5. 5. Presenting a message to the public or a non- scientific audience differs to the structure scientists have been trained to use e.g. for scientific journals, proposals, and papers. Startatthe beginningend Source: COMPASS Science Communication, Inc. 2017. The Message Box Workbook.
  6. 6. Whencraftingyourmessage,it's importanttocustomiseittoyouraudience BUT WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE? Interdisciplines Interdisciplines Journalists Policymakers Fellow scientists in your discipline Non-scientist audiences
  7. 7. What do you want to achieve? EDUCATE an audience about a particular topic. INFORM to raise awareness on a particular issue to a community. PERSUADE policymakers on a particular stance. CHANGE attitudes, perceptions, or behaviours.
  8. 8. HUMANS ARE COMPLEX Howwillyour audience respond? How your audience thinks, their values, their culture... these will all influence how they interpret and process information.
  9. 9. Source: Kahan, Dan M. 2015. What is the 'Science of Science Communication'?. Journal of Science Communication, 14(3), 1-10. Yale Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 539. Available at SSRN: or "Neverhavehuman societiesknownso muchabout mitigatingthe dangerstheyfaced butagreedsolittle aboutwhatthey collectivelyknow." Beliefs, attitudes, opinions - these can all be shaped by social groups Cognitive dissonance Confirmation bias T H I N K I N G A B O U T H O W P E O P L E T H I N K DAN M. KAHAN, YALE LAW SCHOOL
  10. 10. Source: Moskowitz, Clara. 2008. Mind's Limit Found: 4 Things at Once. Live Science. Simpleisbest. Isitdigestible? " . . . T H E A V E R A G E P E R S O N M A Y O N L Y B E A B L E T O H O L D T H R E E O R F O U R T H I N G S I N M I N D A T O N C E . . . "
  11. 11. AVOID USING JARGON "Don’t write merely to be understood. Write so that you cannot possibly be misunderstood." Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish writer
  12. 12. Source: Flusberg, Stephen J., Teenie Matlock & Paul H. Thibodeau. 2017. Metaphors for the War (or Race) against Climate Change. Environmental Communication, 11(6), 769-783. DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2017.1289111 Thelanguage youuse matters METAPHOR FRAMING A study by Flusberg, Matlock, and Thibodeau (2017), tested how metaphors can shape attitudes towards climate change. Participants were asked to read a fictional newspaper article about US efforts to reduce carbon emissions then respond to a series of questions. The aim was to understand how metaphor framing affected: How realistic and achievable the Government's goals were The urgency and risks of the situation How willing participants were to change their behaviour
  13. 13. The war against climate change The race against climate change The issue of climate change Thelanguage youuse matters METAPHOR FRAMING Which do you think had the greatest effect on people?
  14. 14. Usedatawhere relevant L I M I T T H E N U M B E R O F S T A T I S T I C S - O N L Y U S E T H E M I F T H E Y H E L P T O I L L U S T R A T E Y O U R P O I N T Explainwhatthe number/statistic means C O M P A R I N G A N D C O N T R A S T I N G A L S O H E L P S T O E X P L A I N A P O I N T
  15. 15. Source: Baron, Nancy. 2010. Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter. Washington: Island Press.
  16. 16. Source: ElShafie, Sara. 2018. Science and Art Find Common Ground: The Importance of Storytelling. PLOS Blogs Network. ground-the-importance-of-storytelling/ Useexamples, especiallyonespeople canrelateto. " N O T H I N G I S I N T E R E S T I N G T O A N A U D I E N C E U N L E S S T H E Y C A N R E C O G N I Z E S O M E T H I N G I N I T . W H E T H E R P R E S E N T I N G S C I E N C E O R A R T , A N C H O R I N G N E W I N F O R M A T I O N T O T H I N G S T H A T P E O P L E A L R E A D Y K N O W I S T H E B E S T W A Y T O G E T P E O P L E T O R E L A T E T O I T A N D C A R E A B O U T I T . "
  17. 17. This tool will help you refine: TheMessage Box Source: COMPASS Science Communication, Inc. 2017. The Message Box Workbook. What you know Why it matters for your audience What you should convey (what information to prioritise, which areas matter to the audience)
  18. 18. Begin by defining your audience Aim to have a few lines for each section Issue – should be a short, concise phrase Problem – What are you addressing specifically using your knowledge and expertise? Source: COMPASS Science Communication, Inc. 2017. The Message Box Workbook.
  19. 19. So What? Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Why should they care? Why talk about this to them? Why is it important to them? What are their primary concerns? Do they have barriers or rules they must abide by, that would limit their response? Source: COMPASS Science Communication, Inc. 2017. The Message Box Workbook.
  20. 20. Source: COMPASS Science Communication, Inc. 2017. The Message Box Workbook.
  21. 21. Solutions - Options available for solving the problem. Are they realistic and achievable (by this audience)? Benefits - Benefits of addressing the Problem and implementing the Solutions proposed (related to the ‘So What’ section but looking at positive results if action is taken). Source: COMPASS Science Communication, Inc. 2017. The Message Box Workbook.
  22. 22. Capture your main point in a succinct line ‘Test’ the clarity of your message by showing it to someone unfamiliar with your work Source: COMPASS Science Communication, Inc. 2017. The Message Box Workbook.
  23. 23. The importanceof storytelling We tell stories every day Stories are all around us and have always been They help us remember key facts, or understand a situation better
  25. 25. Science-ledstories WHAT WORKS? Commentary on current issues Provide solutions, not problems Character-driven storytelling
  26. 26. Useyourjudgement whenstorytelling. W H E N D O N E W E L L , S T O R Y T E L L I N G C A N B E A N E F F E C T I V E M E D I U M F O R C O M M U N I C A T I N G Y O U R R E S E A R C H A N D I N C R E A S I N G I T S I M P A C T .
  27. 27. Isyourmessage gettingthrough? It is understood The right people heard your message It cuts through the clutter. Why is someone going to stop and read/listen/watch/engage with your content? Your audience is engaged Your audience can see the relevance, practicality, or impact it has for them (What's in it for them? Why should they care? What can they do with this information? Can and will they take action? Why does this matter and how can it affect their life?) Y O U R M E S S A G E H A S B E E N C O M M U N I C A T E D E F F E C T I V E L Y I F :
  28. 28. "Science is not finished until it’s communicated." S I R M A R K W A L P O R T , F O R M E R C H I E F S C I E N T I F I C A D V I S O R T O T H E U K G O V E R N M E N T
  29. 29. IntroductiontotheThree MinuteThesis(3MT®)
  30. 30. Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008. PhD students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance, using a single presentation slide. 3MT® challenges students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience. Overview AN 80, 000 WORD THESI S WOULD TAKE 9 HOURS TO PRESENT. THE CHALLENGE: PRESENT I T I N 3 MI NUTES.
  31. 31. Historyofthecompetition 2 0 1 0 A multi-national event was developed, and the Inaugural Trans-Tasman 3MT® competition was held at UQ the same year. 2 0 1 6 The Trans-Tasman 3MT® competition expanded to include universities from South-East & North Asia. The competition has since then been called the Asia-Pacific 3MT® Competition. 2 0 0 8 The first 3MT® competition was held at UQ with 160 Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates competing. 2 0 0 9 The 3MT® competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities. 2 0 1 3 The first Universitas 21 (U21) 3MT® Competition was held with several universities from around the world competing in a virtual competition. 3MT® I S NOW HELD IN OVER 600 UNIVERSITIES ACROSS MORE THAN 65 COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE.
  32. 32. A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration. No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted. No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted. Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified. Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs). Presentations are to commence from the stage. Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech. Rules THREE MINUTE THESIS
  33. 33. Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise? Judging Criteria THREE MINUTE THESIS PRESENTATION (SLIDE) COMPREHENSION & CONTENT Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence? Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience? Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points? ENGAGEMENT & COMMUNICATION Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention? Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance? Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  34. 34. 'Dengue Detective' Yasmin Mustapha Kamil 3MT® Asia Pacific Finals 2018 Winner & People’s Choice
  35. 35. Your3MT® challenge 13:00 - 14:30, Monday 11 March, 2019 Please send your one slide by email to: and by 12pm on Monday 11 March, 2019. PRESENTATIONS: For more information about the 3MT® and to watch examples, visit:
  36. 36. Thankyou! Any questions?