On 10 November 2016, Dr Andrew Jackson (Senior Editor at Edanz Group) gave a two-hour seminar on effective science communication to 20 graduate students at the Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan.
Dr Jackson, a trained English teacher with a background in physical sciences, explained the importance of learning both academic and non-academic English to communicate science to a wide range of audiences in a researcher's career. However, features that are common to both academic and non-academic written English are clear sentences, with an obvious subject for the main verb, and logical links between phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. Readers also typically expect old information (as the topic of a sentence or paragraph) before new information.
When it comes to speaking and making oral presentations, Dr Jackson said short sentences are important because listeners have short attention spans. Adding summaries and reminders of what has already been said can be useful, in addition to clear logical transitions and pauses to allow for processing, especially of a key point. Giving warnings is useful for the listener, too, such as: "This next point is the most important one", "The take-home message is...", or "Please remember this...".
Above all, students learned that considering the audience and keeping language short and simple--for example, by replacing obscure terms and jargon with familiar words and phrases--can immediately improve the effectiveness of research communication.
Both students and organizers were appreciative of the seminar, and the students were keen to continue self-directed learning about academic writing using the Edanz e-learning platform Author Academy.
Edanz Group provides tools, resources, and services for researchers and research institutions to publish in international indexed journals and communicate their research to the world. In addition to publication support, editing, and news writing, Edanz offers a range of educational services from trained native-speaking instructors to help all levels of researchers throughout their careers.
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