In this blog post, I share my experience of speaking at the research seminar series at Swansea University, School of Management.
The topic of my seminar was communicating research beyond academia.
This was a collaboration with Dr Cigdem Gedikli, Lecturer in Accounting and Finance, and leader of the research seminar series.
1. Creating the connection
Early this year, I was invited to speak at the Women’s Budget Group (WBG) launch event for early career researchers. At the event, there was a panel on communicating research and I was one of the five speakers.
Read three insights from practice about communicating research to wider audiences from the WBG event
I met Cigdem at this event and she was one of the five researchers who received a copy of our Guide to Communicating Research Beyond Academia.
“I met Mihaela in a Women’s Budget Group event in January and I enjoyed her presentation. When I was asked to organise research seminars, I thought my colleagues would benefit from Mihaela’s expertise in communicating research.” Dr Cigdem Gedikli
After the event, Cigdem and I stayed in touch. It was especially nice to receive her feedback on the guide:
“[The guide] is informative; especially the sections on disseminating research to different audiences and how to create a two-page summary of research findings.”
2. What is a research seminar series?
Departmental series or research seminar series are typical of academic departments.
“Normally, external research seminar series involve presentations from scholars from different universities. Presentations are usually based on work-in-progress papers. This is a great way of networking and sharing ideas about research.” Dr Cigdem Gedikli
Having said this, Cigdem believed that a slightly different session on communicating research would be useful for her colleagues.
“I think it’s important to do research that makes an impact in people’s lives and informs policymaking. Therefore, thought it will be useful for us, as researchers, to rethink why we do research.”
I was immediately interested in Cigdem’s invitation and welcomed the opportunity to share my insights into research communication to her colleagues.
3. Structure of the seminar
The 45-minutes session was structured into 3 main sections and it was in a loose workshop format rather than a seminar. Moreover, the format was interactive and I encouraged participants to participate by prompting them with questions.
First, we started by discussing the benefits of communicating research beyond academia. This is a great starting point to remind people of the bigger picture behind communicating research.
In addition, we discussed the prep questions researchers need to ask themselves before communicating their research. Instead of sharing our five most helpful questions from the start, I asked them to think of what questions they would find interesting. This was the first time I did this and it was great to hear people’s answers:
- Is my research understandable?
- Are my results robust enough?
- Am I at the right stage to disseminate my results?
- Who is my target audience?
- Who would benefit from learning about my findings?
- When is my audience ready to receive my results?
- Why would my audience care about my results?
- Why am I doing this?
After this, we discussed the typical structure that researchers can use to create a visual summary. Again, I prompted the questions before offering an answer, and this got people thinking of what they would prioritise:
- Title: short and catchy
- Data source
- Sense of immediacy
- Visual elements
Lastly, we ended the session with a few research dissemination ideas that the researchers could implement straight away. Everyone left with a handout of the key points.
“Mihaela was great in terms of facilitating the discussion. The session offered a great opportunity for colleagues to share their ideas and experiences in terms of communicating their research. This helped us all in sparing some quality time in thinking about the importance, benefits as well as challenges in communicating their research beyond academia.” Dr Cigdem Gedikli
Overall, I enjoyed the opportunity of speaking at the research seminar series at Swansea University. Thank you to Cidgem for the invitation and I hope we can collaborate again soon!
If you’d like to invite Mihaela to attend your research seminar series and offer a 45-minute to 1-hour session on communicating research beyond academia, please fill in the form below: