Record of the Week (Week of 28 April 2014)

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Committee on the Anthropology of Science, Technology and Computing – Rhetorical Studies of Science and Technology

Somatosphere – Anesthesia


Digital Sociology – What Does Data Do?

Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology – Big Data and its epistemology

Pasco Phronesis – It Was Sooner Than I Thought – PCAST Releases Big Data Report

Sociological Imagination – Nigel Thrift and Steven Koonin discuss urban science and big data [VIDEO]


The Breakthrough Institute (Mathew Nisbet’s The Public Square) – Pathways to Progress on Climate Change

Climate Access – Talking Responsibility for Climate Change: The Call to Mobilize

TED – The Emergent Patterns of climate change [VIDEO]


Talking Climate – To segment or not to segment?

Environmental Communication –


Geography Directions – Drones for wildlife: the securitization of conservation?


Council of Canadian Academies – Expert Panel finds monitoring, management, and oversight critical for responsible shale gas development in Canada


KMBeing blog – Collective Impact Of Research Over Isolated Impact Of Research


Ars Technica – State laws that ban municipal Internet will be invalidated, FCC chair says


Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology – Open-access repositories worldwide, 2005–2012: Past growth, current characteristics, and future possibilities

LSE Impact blog – The only way to make inflated journal subscriptions unsustainable: Mandate Green Open Access.


Open Culture – Carl Sagan Writes a Letter to 17-Year-Old Neil deGrasse Tyson (1975)


LSE Impact blog – Video abstracts are a low-barrier means for publishers to extend the shelf life of research


Campaign for Science & Engineering (CaSE) – New evidence: science investment boosts growt

Guardian’s Political Science blog – What has science got in common with opera? Oil

Making Science Public blog – Doing science: Some reflections on methods


Canadian Science Writer’s Association – Can you truly write about science if you don’t comment back to commenters?

Journal of Geography in Higher Education – Using role-play for expert science communication with professional stakeholders in flood risk management

Speakers of Science – Science Communication Communication


Cultural Studies of Science Education – Debate on global warming as a socio-scientific issue: science teaching towards political literacy

Science & Education –


British Ecological Society blog – Decoding EU science policy

Cultural Cognition Project blog – Science and public policy: Who distrusts whom about what?

Pasco Phronesis – Princeton Scientist Wants To Keep Holt Seat In The Family


Ars Technica – Facebook grows up, moves to protect user privacy and stabilize code

UCL Social Networking Sites & Social Science Research Project blog – No Make up Selfie

Culture Digitally – A networked selfie: Storytelling of the self in the age of digital reproduction


Social Science & Medicine – Attitudes to vaccination: A critical review


Harvard Business Review blog network – Visualizing Zero: How to Show Something with Nothing


Bubble Chamber – The Weekly Roundup

Don’t Get Caught (Communications blog) – The Weekend Read

Ed Yong’s Not Exactly Rocket Science – I’ve Got Your Missing Links Right Here (3 May 2014)

Journalist’s Resource – What’s new in digital and social media research, April 2014: Facebook rumor cascades, online comments, collaborative news clips, more 

Nieman Journalism Lab – This Week in Review: The FCC defends its plan, and Facebook’s (sort of) privacy concession

Savage Minds – Around the Web Digest: Week of April 27

Somatosphere – Web Roundup: The Body and Big Data


Structure of Great Talks

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I thought it to be appropriate to begin blogging on the topic of ‘research communication’ by writing on the topic of ‘giving talks’.

One of the tasks placed upon those of us in academia is to give talks. There is no way of avoiding it. Correction, there is always a way to avoid it but that will reflect negatively on the corresponding career prospects. Talks occur in various contexts: at conferences, workshops, seminars, group meetings, etc.

Academics must give talks. Fact. So instead of pondering of how to get out of giving a talk, you have to ask yourself about how you can give a great talk.

In a recent TED talk, Nancy Duarte (@NancyDuarte) of Duarte Design, proposes the structure of great talks.

Nancy Duarte examines the “I have a dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as Steve Jobs’ iPhone launch speech. By analysing the two speeches, Mrs. Duarte suggests that all great presentations have a common structure (see below) while emphasizing the need for effective storytelling to facilitate a response to the call to action.

Without going into a discussion about the actual presentation of the talk, there are several points that can be taken on board for the purposes of research communication.

Lessons for Research Communication

1) Effective communication can be achieved through story telling

Everyone loves a good story. I can still remember all my favourite stories as told by my grandmother. They captivated my attention and transported me into another world. Researchers should strive to capture the audience and transport them into the world of their research. For example, historians can transport us into the world of the past; while scientists can transport us into a world of mystery and discovery.


2) The shape of the talk should switch between ‘what is’ and ‘what could be’.

In the case of scientists, when presenting to non-academic audiences, this means switching between the ‘science’ and the ‘social implications’ (the bigger picture, if you will). The necessity for the back and forth movement is dependent on the various encounters with resistance. When presenting scientific research there is a balance required between the science and the bigger picture. Putting in too much science creates the risk of alienating the less knowledgeable audience. Leaving out too much `science` creates the risk of alienating the more knowledgeable audience. It`s a balancing act.

Overall, it`s hard to imagine a universal formula for a perfect talk. Its an ideal to strive for.

How do you achieve your perfect talk?