News from the vaccine world

News from the vaccine world

Good Science requires good Communication! by Mariateresa Coppola

Blog VacTrainPosted by Ben van der Zeijst 21 Nov, 2014 08:50

As young researchers, we really need to communicate our ideas and results to an audience effectively, using articles, posters and oral presentations; moreover, since we are all involved in the development of new vaccines, we should also be able to inform and discuss our work with a broad audience, since it’s clear that the successful story of a vaccine is linked to the number of vaccinated people.

Probably, we would all agree that “communication” is not a skill that is easy to improve when you are sitting alone in front of a computer. However when you test your abilities with other people and receive constructive criticism from them, you can start reflecting upon what you are learning and reshaping your ideas about the way you present your work.

For this reason I was really enthusiastic to join the course “Communication in Science” for PhD students, organized in Leiden. It consisted of 5 sessions in which we (the participants) experienced various forms of written and oral presentation from an interactional perspective, discussing and reviewing the work of others, giving and receiving feedback, commenting about posters, articles… it was worthwhile!

I learned a lot from the tutor and the other students but the most useful recommendation was: never forget the audience! In fact, generally we are focused on what we want to do, instead of what we want our audience to do as a result of reading what we wrote or listening to what we said. So since you are my audience and “effective communication uses information to move an audience from an initial mixed state of knowledge to a final state of understanding”( S. Benka), I would like to share two articles suggested during the course that may be useful for you in future:

· Stephen G. Benka. Who is listening? what do they hear? Physics Today 2008; 61, 49

· P.J. Sterk, K.F. Rabe. The joy of writing a paper Breathe 2008; 4: 224-232