How Research Retold started
OUR TRACK RECORD
Research Retold is an approved vendor to 18 UK universities and multiple government and research organisations.
For these collaborations we have worked with over 100 researchers to turn their research into a visual format.
We thank our partners for their continued trust and support.
We deliver research communication services driven by reliability, collaboration and transparency.
“Research Retold was not the result of an ‘Aha!’ moment, but rather me connecting disparate dots into a unique service which solved a genuine problem. I gained professional experience in Brussels and trained as a social scientist and data scientist. Researchers in my department needed to present their findings and I figured out a way to solve that need by using my skills at the time… Years later, we’ve seen this need grow and we’ve expanded our capacity to deliver projects.” Mihaela Gruia, Founder and Director
HOW CAN YOU BENEFIT FROM OUR RESEARCH SUPPORT SERVICES?
Each year approximately £6 billion are invested in research in the UK (UKRI). Yet, the resulting findings are under-utilised in decision-making processes because those who need to implement them don’t understand either the jargon and how the findings apply to them and their day-to-day activity.
Before I set up Research Retold, I met with over 100 researchers and senior managers across in the higher education and research sectors.
I realised that in order to maximise the societal impact of research, findings need to be presented in short, digestible formats.
Long, jargon-filled research reports are perfect when the audience is familiar with the topic or when there is a need to go into the nitty-gritty of the methodology.
However, in most situations when discussing with policy-makers, NGOs, public sector officials, civil servants or the general public, research needs to be presented in a format that can be easily absorbed and digested.
It is this process of capturing the essence of the research and retelling it using accessible language and visual aids that we aim to deliver at Research Retold.
HOW CAN YOUR RESEARCH BE ‘RETOLD’?
Step 1: Making the findings easy to read
A crucial part of our research support services refers to the language in which the findings are presented. This means that wherever possible, academic or industry-specific jargon is removed, and key messages are rephrased using laymen and non-technical language. Beyond this, elements of storytelling are inserted to make the narrative more compelling and relatable.
This step is carried out by one of our research communicators with guidance from the researchers. Three ingredients are key: an understanding of the research, the main findings, and the audience.
This understanding is developed through a series of pinpointed questions and discussions. Condensing 20 or 40 pages of research into 2 or 4 pages is an iterative process that requires flexibility and open communication. In the end, the most important and relevant messages are captured in a concise summary tailored to a given audience. The summary acts as the starting point for the creative journey.
Victoria Hasson, Research Communicator
Research communication is all about making information digestible so that it can have a greater impact. At times it can also be about opening up the language of research to a broader audience. This is the most satisfying aspect of research communication because I feel I’m helping the writer and the reader to reach each other without them having to put the work in themselves, and in the end making that connection is the most rewarding aspect of this work.
Victoria is one of our team of talented research communicators who pull out research findings with clarity and focus.
Step 2: Making the findings beautiful
The second important part of our research support services relates to visuals. This entails transforming the text into various visual components. The narrative used to present the research findings is turned into a visual narrative. Our imagination is kickstarted and concepts, ideas and processes are illustrated visually.
Inspiration can come from the theme of the research, the elements that make up that theme, the nature of the research (qualitative or quantitative), the people impacted by the research or the setting in which the research is presented.
The goal is to match the visuals to the research, in authentic and representative ways. As we saw in the collaboration with Pf Caroline Dyer, we ensured that the icons accurately depicted the education context of pastoralist populations in African countries and not Western ideas of education.
In terms of concrete final formats, these can be policy briefs, visual summaries, infographics, illustrations, infocomics, videos or documentaries. The only ‘limiting’ factor to creativity is where the research is being presented and the dissemination plan.
These visual representations aim to create a link between the audience and the researchers, to facilitate further collaborations and, thus, maximise the impact the research can have in the world.
Radina Metodieva, Graphic Designer
The first step is to understand what the research is about and what key messages should be highlighted in the design. I then brainstorm ideas about how to design these messages in interesting ways. Deciding on colour palettes and sketching ideas is one of the first steps. Will it have icons? Or photos? Maybe some fun illustrations. Whatever it is, it has to be relevant to the research. This is an enjoyable process. It’s fun to create new designs and learn new things I might have not even known about from the research papers themselves!
Radina is one of our talented graphic designers who visually interpret research findings in engaging and appealing ways.