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Promotion of public understanding

Research Skills required by PhD students E4: Contribute to promoting the public understanding of...

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9 March 2010

Research Skills required by PhD students E4: Contribute to promoting the public understanding of one's research field

Check this skill

By the time students complete a PhD, they should be able to answer ‘Yes’ to most of these questions.

  • Can you articulate three ways in which research in your domain typically benefits the public, and can you explain how those benefits are achieved?
  • 'Who cares'?:
    • Can you identify who is likely to benefit from your research and how they might benefit?
    • Can you relate your research to a specific 'everyday' problem that it might address, whether directly or indirectly?
    • Can you explain your research intelligibly to a 14 year old?
    • Can you write a 5- to 10-sentence description of your research in simple sentences, without any jargon?
    • Can you draw a cartoon of your research?

Evidence of this skill

These are examples of documents you can collect. Each implies a piece or work, which may be a good way for you to develop this skill.

  • A short article about your research published in a newsletter, magazine, newspaper.
  • A well-designed and well written description of your research on your personal web page.
  • A contribution on your subject area to wikipedia or similar.
  • A record of giving a public lecture on your research.
  • A record of participation in outreach activities in schools or elsewhere in the community.
  • Evidence of participation in an Open Day, Science Festival or other events.

This page is based upon material produced by The Open University’s research school to support doctoral students.

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