In an age when we are constantly bombarded by information, most people tend to be selective of reading materials they pour their attention to. There are lots of scientific findings that bear impact on day-to-day living, yet it takes a special breed of writers to convey the main points clearly to the intended audience, and get lots of other people to read.
Beyond expressing new discoveries, survey findings, or revelations in clear and concise language, though, science writers face a far greater challenge: how to break down the barrier that many reasonable readers globally have built, that prevents them from accepting the scientific consensus.
Writing in a way that will make people read review articles on survey findings is one challenge. The other challenge is how to arouse that scientific curiosity, that in turn can promote open-minded engagement with information that can be shared with others.
Why Some People Cast Serious Doubts On Science
It is one of the longest-running topics being discussed in online sites and social media. The question on why many reasonable people doubt science can lead to a never-ending discussion.
As a comment on the Reddit discussion board goes, “There’s a difference between healthy skepticism and total distrust. The former is useful… (but) there seems to be either too much trust or distrust in science among non-scientists.” Once that mistrust exhibited in varying degrees by numerous readers dissipates, all the other steps may come into play.
Here are some of the ways to get people to read scientific findings or related articles backed by evidences.
Getting Up to Speed on Cutting-Edge Topics
There is a saying that `a little learning is a dangerous thing.’ It holds true for both the readers and the writer. How to get people to actually read and understand science articles and reviews generally rests on a few simple steps. From the get-go, it helps if the writer has a strong interest or love for the subject matter, which brings us to the first important step.
Before anything else, the writer must know the topic. A good writer will step back and do his homework, sort out and digest materials, and distill it down to a thesis. Non-essential details can be ditched.
Knowing the Reader
In expressing the key points, the writer must speak the language of the intended audience. Knowing the reader and using layman’s terms are highly advisable. Regular readers should not be made to deal with making sense of a lot of jargon. Use lots of technical phrases and lose the audience.
Keep in mind that the greater number of people you can reach, update or inform, and influence, the more worthwhile will be the time and energy you invested in the writing endeavor.
When you write for fellow science enthusiasts or industry experts, you can breeze over the acronyms or difficult concepts, but it does not mean removing important details. You generally need to define key terminologies and concepts for regular readers. Finally, visuals may help hold readers’ attention.
Make Good On Your Mental Promise
There are techniques to check if there are gaps in your understanding of a technical or scientific subject matter. One of these is the Feynman technique of learning, hailed as a “versatile thinking tool.” Jot down and revise your ideas to better reach your target audience. Try to explain something as if you are speaking to another person or an audience.
Update your own learning by being open to constructive criticism and opposing opinions. Last but not the least, do not forget to give yourself a pat on the back. A clear and well-written review or science-related article can be an eye-opener or a gift to those whom you have enlightened or shared ideas with.
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