Communication Resources for Scientists

Here is my ongoing list of writing and communication references that were created for, or are relevant to, scientists. I’d be interested in any feedback from scientists who have loved or hated any of these resources, as well as suggestions for new additions.

American Association for the Advancement of Science, Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology. Communication resources for scientists and engineers, including how-to tips for interviews and presentations, strategies for identifying public outreach opportunities.

Nancy Baron. 2010. Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter. Island Press. Nancy Baron has led communications workshops for scientists across the country through Seaweb and the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program. This book is mostly about dealing with journalists and other media representatives, and introduces the “Message Box” template of message development.

Cornelia Dean. 2009. Am I Making Myself Clear? A Scientist’s Guide to Talking to the Public. Harvard University Press. Advice, primarily on working with the media, from a New York Times science reporter.

Eric Eckl. Water Words that Work. A communications consulting firm that assists natural resources agencies and institutions find the right words for their message. Lots of online information.

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 2010. An excellent special issue on communication for ecologists (Volume 8, Issue 6).

Andy Goodman. The Goodman Center. A communications consultant who worked with Al Gore post-An Inconvenient Truth, Goodman advocates for storytelling in workshops and free online resources.

Richard Hayes and Daniel Grossman. 2006. A Scientist’s Guide to Talking with the Media. Union of Concerned Scientists. A somewhat dated version of newer books by Baron and Dean. Online webinar available.

Donald Kennedy and Geneva Overholser, editors. 2010. Science and the Media. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A product of the Academy’s Media and Society project. The online PDF contains chapters by well-established writers and communications scholars.

Dennis Meredith. 2010. Explaining Research: How to Reach Key Audiences to Advance Your Work. Oxford University Press. A less intimidating but comprehensive guide to everything from giving presentations and preparing posters to working with public audiences.

Chris Mooney. Prominent author, most recently of The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality, and critic on science, media, and politics in his blog,

National Science Foundation. Science & Engineering Indicators (biennial). National Academy of Sciences. An important resource for professors and science educators. See especially the chapter on “Public Attitudes and Understanding.”

NSF also has been offering communication workshops called “Becoming the Messenger;” search events for a workshop in your area,

Matthew Nisbet. Age of Engagement. The new blog from the co-author of the “Framing Science” conversation, but go to the old site first:

The Oceanography Society. 2006. EPO Education and Public Outreach- A Guide for Scientists.  A short introduction for those who want to engage with public audiences in deeper, more meaningful ways.

Randy Olson. 2009. Don’t Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style. Island Press. From a marine biologist-turned-filmmaker, humorous advice on “how to play the scientist role without being the negating, annoying, no-fun voice.”

Pew Research Center. Publishes reports on media coverage of science, medicine, and health, as well as regular updates on news media trends.



Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: