Topics in the Context of Research: Communication

Communicating Science to the Public

The video provided by Terry Devitt of the University of Wisconsin – Madison addresses the topic of Communicating about Science with the Public.



  • Developed by SeaWeb, the “Message Box” – a graphical tool for organizing thoughts about your research prior to an interview. The “Message Box” is available in several – different – formats on the web.
  • By Charles R. Chappell and James Hartz, an essay entitled “The Challenge of Communicating Science to the Public”, which includes discussion on why and how scientists and journalists should collaborate to inform the public about scientific research.
  • From the National Association of Science Writers, an extensive guide on different types of media, arranging interviews, “pitfalls in reporting science news”, and many related topics.
  • From the Advancing Science, Serving Society website, a guide for scientists and engineering for communicating science to the publice, including sections on Communication Basics and Public Outreach.

Treatment of Data

The video provided by Professor Rod Lakes of the University of Wisconsin – Madison addresses the topic of creating informative and professional graphs of research data. The graphs that accompany Professor Lakes’ presentation can be found here: Go to Graphs



  • From the personal webpage of Professor James K. Hardy of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Akron, “Statistical Treatment of Data”, a web presentation with good notes for basic statistics and specific tests for the rejection of data, including discussion of large and small sample sets. Students could be directed straight to the website or lecturers could use it as a primer for their lecture.
  • The NIST-SEMATECH e-Handbook of Statistical Methods has a lot of statistics information, and specifically a good description of the Grubbs’ test for detection of outliers
  • From the University of Athens, Greece Department of Chemistry website, “Dixon’s Q-test: Detection of a single outlier”, which includes an Applet for doing Q-test calculations and a brief discussion on rejecting data from small data sets. Note: although much of the department’s website is in Greek, this page is in English.
  • From the Royal Chemical Society, “Robust Statistics: a method of coping with outliers”, a two-page AMC technical brief for dealing with outliers without discarding them.

Research Slide Presentations

The video provided by Katie Cadwell of the University of Wisconsin – Madison addresses the topic of creating and giving a slide presentation on research. Slides to accompany Dr. Cadwell’s presentation can be downloaded here.


  • From the Department of Chemistry website at the University of Minnesota, an extensive list of tips for creating and giving slide presentations by Professor Christy Haynes, and Slide presentation suggestions for an effective presentation that includes links to other helpful websites.
  • From Mark Hill, Professor of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a guide to oral presentations, including an outline for a generic conference presentation.
  • From the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine website, “Tips for Effective Slide Presentations”, a list of tips by Dr. Shaun D. Black and Pete Walker III for creating and presenting slide presentations.
  • From Professor Tia Newhall of the Computer Science Department at Swarthmore College, a list of tips for creating and giving slide presentations, including a section on combating nervousness.
  • A humorous video by comedian Don McMillan on what not to do during a slide presentation. This video can also be found on Mr. McMillan’s MySpace page but doesn’t stream as smoothly.

Research Poster Presentations

The video provided by Professor Susan Hagness of the University of Wisconsin – Madison details the creation and delivery of an effective poster presentation. Slides to accompany Professor Hagness’ presentation can be downloaded here.