Sense about Science ? equipping people to make sense of science and evidence
VoYS workshop at University of Glasgow, 16th September 2015
On 16th September 2015 we took the Standing up for Science media workshop to Glasgow.
In the first session of the day, the scientists on the panel talked about their media experiences and why they stand up for science. Prof Miles Padgett explained that engaging with the media can both be fun and can teach you a great deal. He described an example where one journalist he worked with came up with excellent analogies which Miles now uses himself to help explain his research. Dr Kirsty Park talked about ways to respond when your research is misrepresented; she recommended The Conversation as one place where academics can write about their work. Dr Lisa DeBruine discussed her past radio experiences and advised that preparing three main points and sticking to them will make any interview much easier.
For the second session of the day, when the journalists heard what the particpants thought was good and bad about how the media reports science, they responded by sharing what they are looking for in a story. Eleanor Bradford from the BBC told us all just how few words you can use to explain your work on the radio, and Lizzy Buchan from the Scotsman explained the pressures she faces in her fast-paced day. We were also joined by freelance journalist Peter Ranscombe, who discussed how there are often great opportunities to write about science in a non science context and where there is a place for quirky science with little human impact.
At the end of the day, Lindsay Murphy, the Scottish Coordinator for Sense About Science, VoYS member Olivia Kirtley and Ross Barker, Senior Communications Officer at the University of Glasgow gave tips on how early career researchers can stand up for science. "Let your passion shine through", was Olivia's final comment - great advice for those who want to share their research far and wide.
You can see photos from the day here: http://on.fb.me/1QjPXhn
Missed out on this event? Want to attend the next workshop? Does your organisation want to partner a workshop? Email Joanne at jthomas[at]senseaboutscience.org.
Aidan Robson is a physics teacher and STEM ambassador currently undertaking an EngD in environmental engineering focusing on microbial source tracking. He wrote about the workshop on his blog.
Heidi Gardner is a first year PhD student in Applied Health Sciences at the University of Aberdeen. Her project aims to improve participant recruitment into clinical trials, with a particular focus on the potential impact of trial branding. Heidi shared her thoughts about the workshop on the Students 4 Best Evidence blog here.
With thanks to all our workshop partners:
Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Edge Hill University
Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine
Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Society for Applied Microbiology
Society for Endocrinology
Society for Experimental Biology
University of Cambridge, Graduate School of Life Sciences
University of Glasgow
University of St Andrews
University of Stirling
University of the West of Scotland
Top tip 1: Ask for Evidence. If you’re being sold a product or asked to believe a claim then you deserve to know whether it’s based on evidence – or imagination.
Top tip 2: Detox. It’s a marketing myth – our body does it without pricey potions and detox diets.
Top tip 3: Superfood. There is no such thing, just foods that are high in some nutrients.
Top tip 4: Cleansing. You shouldn’t be trying to cleanse anything other than your skin or hair.
Top tip 5: If it sounds too good to be true… it probably is.