Module 13 - Communicating Your Research
Communicating Your Research
Identifying stakeholders who might be interested in your research and finding ways to communicate your research to them is important. While presenting at conferences and publishing peer reviewed research are the most common ways you will communicate your research, it is valuable to consider other means of sharing your research early in your candidature.
Other academics, certain members of the general public, people who inform and write policy, and people in industry are often seen as key stakeholders. But what is the best way to communicate with them? And how?
In this module we will cover:
- Attending and presenting at conferences
- Engaging online with people about your research
- Specific events such as the 3 Minute Thesis
Upon completion of this module, you will be able to:
- Identify and begin planning for conferences you may attend and present your research
- Select an online platform(s) to engage with research idols, peers and stakeholders
- Research different forms of communication in your disciple and reflect on your role in this process
13.1 Attending and presenting at conferences
Conferences are fantastic networking events that give you the opportunity to talk about your research in both formal (i.e. oral presentation or poster) and informal (conversations with delegates) settings. HDR students are encouraged to attend at least one National conference during their candidature, with opportunities for attendance at International conferences also encouraged.
A great conference to start with is UNE's annual post-graduate research conference, held on campus at the beginning of each year. This event is free and students have the opportunity to be involved in the running of the conference (i.e. chairing sessions), as well as presenting their research, in a safe and supported environment.
Another great place to start is looking at professional societies who often hold annual online or in-person conferences.
You should talk to your supervisors early in your study about which conferences you can attend during your candidature – attending conferences, whether National or International, requires planning and in most cases, applying for funding. Another way to experience a conference is by following along online. Many conferences will have a hashtag and those in attendance will be continuing the dialogue on twitter allowing you to listen in and contribute to the conversation.
Does the idea of presenting to an audience seem daunting? The HDR Resources and Advice Portal (HDR RAP) frequently informs students of opportunities to attend seminars/training to aid in the preparation of oral presentations and posters. You should also investigate training opportunities within your faculty and make sure you are on the appropriate mailing lists to receive this information.
You can also check out the Think Check Attend website which provides further information on attending conferences.
13.2 Online Engagement
As a researcher, having an online profile will assist you in communicating your research and engaging with different communities in a number of ways. Whilst this may seem overwhelming or yet another thing you need to do it is an important part of the research lifecycle.
Popular platforms for academics are:
- ORCiD and other author profiles (see Module 12.2)
- Research Gate (see Module 12.2)
- Humanities Commons
Having these profiles up to date and taking the time to actively engage with people on them will assist you in:
- Disseminating your research, particularly to a broader audience
- Talking about your research in a non-academic setting with non-academic language
- Keeping aware of other research being published
- Finding and connecting with potential collaborators
- Obtaining non-traditional metrics data to be used in grant and promotion applications (see Module 14.3)
Watch 'Being a 21st Century researcher', where UNE academics Dr. Mary McMillan and Dr. Julia Day discuss their approach to online engagement (UNE log-in required).
13.3 3 Minute Thesis
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. Postgraduate students present their research in under three minutes and in language a non-specialist would understand.
Each year UNE hosts a Faculty and Institutional competition. The UNE winner is invited to perform at the national championships in Queensland each year. For more information and how to enter visit UNE's 3MT wbepage.
Hear from UNE postgraduate student Cassandra on her experience competing in- and winning- two 3MT competitions whilst at UNE (UNE log-in required).
13.4 Thinking outside the box...
In recent years, science communication has evolved to engage with a broader audience. These communication strategies have involved discussing popular science issues and research in a pub setting (Pint of Science), following the format of London Hyde Park's Speakers Corner (Soap Box Science), 3MT style International competition (Fame Lab) and Dance your PhD (yes – it's a thing!).
Studying in a different discipline, but still want to be creative in your communication? Why not start closer to home? The UNE and Armidale communities are supportive of initiatives to promote research and innovation.
Progress to Module 14- Tracking Your Research Impact.