Blogging Your Scientific Research

 Agenda | Speaker Bios | Presentation | Resource List
Communication Training for Scientists

Science Communication Workshop: Blogging Your Scientific Research

July 9, 2014
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
University of Rhode Island
Coastal Institute

Featured speaker and deep sea ecologist, Andrew Thaler, describes the importance of a compelling narrative in science blogs.

Online outreach has become an increasingly popular way for researchers to share their love for science with the public. It is also an effective way to combat misinformation about science that is commonly found on the web, and need not require a large investment of your time.

To assist Rhode Island researchers in their online outreach efforts, Metcalf Institute hosted a workshop on science blogging for Rhode Island research faculty, staff, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus in the Coastal Institute, 218 S. Ferry Road in Narragansett.

The workshop consisted of two sessions led by Andrew David Thaler, Ph.D., editor-in-chief of Southern Fried Science, a popular marine science and conservation website.  Thaler, a deep-sea ecologist and conservation geneticist, also teaches courses on social media for environmental communicators and writing “in the online ecosystem” at the Duke Environmental Leadership Program.  Thaler was joined in a panel discussion by Chris Faesi, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and third year PhD student in astrophysics at Harvard University; and Carrie McDonough, a Ph.D. candidate in the Lohmann Lab at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography who studies how toxic air and water pollutants are transported through the environment.


9:30 a.m.
Participant check-in. Continental breakfast provided.

Session 1: Why Online Outreach?

Getting Started With a Science Blog
10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

ANDREW DAVID THALER, Southern Fried Science
Experienced science writer Thaler will describe the evolution of his popular blog, Southern Fried Science, as well as the lessons he’s learned along the way about how to start and sustain a science blog.

10:50 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.

Panel Discussion: Insights from the Field
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
ANDREW DAVID THALER, Southern Fried Science, CHRISTOPHER FAESI, Harvard UniversityGraduate Research Fellow;
Panelists will share practical science blogging tips gained by their personal experiences, including issues such as how to build a following to balancing the obligations of school/work/life and blogging.

Networking Lunch
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Session 2: Interactive Workshop

Introduction to Narrative Structure
1:00 – 1:20 p.m.
ANDREW DAVID THALER, Southern Fried Science
Thaler will provide guidelines for constructing an engaging narrative about scientific research. This approach can be applied not only to a science blog, but also to scientific publications and conference presentations.

Identifying Compelling Narratives
1:20 – 2:15 p.m.
Participants will break into groups according to their pre-assigned papers. Each group will discuss their paper’s potential narratives and make guesses about the findings that were actually covered by the news media and science bloggers.

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.

Writing Your Science Narrative
2:30 – 3:15 p.m.
Participants will work individually to develop narratives using their own research abstracts.

Report out
3:15 – 4:00 p.m.
Participants may volunteer or Thaler may select several participants to share their abstracts and their narratives for critique.

The workshop was free and open to natural and social science faculty, research staff, and graduate students from colleges and universities throughout Rhode Island.  It was supported by Rhode Island NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCOR) as part of an ongoing effort to help Rhode Island researchers advance their research by strengthening their communication skills.

RI EPSCoR partner institutions are University of Rhode Island, Brown University, Bryant University, Community College of Rhode Island, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Rhode Island School of Design, Roger Williams University, and Salve Regina University.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement #EPS-1004057.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are thosensf-plain-blue
of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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