Writing About Science and Social Science for the Public


This workshop is for scientists and social scientists who need to communicate about their research to the public. That can mean helping decision makers to understand the data and their implications in order to make sound policy decisions, attracting investment or innovators to turn the research into reality, telling the media about the significance of research findings, or just creating wider awareness of the value of their work. Scientists and social scientists may be writing articles in their university research newsletter, briefing notes or reports to policy makers, web pages about their research programs, and so on.

Whatever the medium and the message, scientists need to write effectively about research, evidence and data.

Effective writing situates readers in context to help them understand where the information fits in a broader context. How do these results affect people? How will the policy change the way things are done? It relates often abstract or complex concepts to the real world. And it uses a writing toolbox to convey ideas through metaphor, analogy, visual images, and even humour.

Participants learn to assess the targeted audience in a communication. They understand the format of a public summary, media release, and news article, and how these differ from scientific or technical communications such as journal articles and abstracts. They will be able to explain scientific or social science concepts in everyday language, and bring ideas to life using the tools of prose. They will situate technical problems in a social context. By the end of the day, participants should be able to craft a clear and explanatory document for the public.



  • Who are you explaining your research to — what do they need to know?
  • How do you explain research results in various formats for the public?
  • The “elevator pitch” — explaining briefly yet accurately
  • Defining terms and concepts
  • Explaining context
  • Explaining potential applications or implications
  • Explaining why and how using metaphors, analogies, visual imagery



  • Scientists and social scientists in academe, public sector or industry
  • Public information officers in research organizations who work with scientists



6 hours



  • $655 (plus tax)


Featured Instructor

Carolyn Brown is a writer/editor with more than 35 years’ experience. She has written speeches, press releases, news, book chapters, articles, brochures, web pages, and more. She has edited scientific journals and reports, including Canada’s Changing Climate Report. She is a regular contributor to the news service of the Canadian Medical Association Journal and writes features on biomedical research for Nature.



Event CodeTitleBegin DateEnd DateTermDelivery MethodRegister
P02012311AWriting About Science and Social Science for the Public11/20/202311/21/2023AutumnOnlineRegister