Sense About Science, work with researchers on many of the most sensitive subjects - some fraught with misunderstanding - to improve the communication of their research findings. They only undertake such partnerships where there are high stakes for the public and communication is difficult. Communicating the survival statistics of children’s heart surgery at different treatment centres in 2016 was among the toughest of these, with potentially major consequences for all involved. It is a using this experience as a case study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, that has been used as the basis of this new practical guide.
The guide sets out a five-step guide to involve the public in communicating research, so co-designing research communications:
It doesn't cover how to involve publics in the shaping of research itself, but points to resources if that's what you're looking for.
Each chapter is dedicated to looking at each of the five steps in turn and provides an overview of the sorts of questions or steps to help you contextualise the steps within your own area of interest, whilst also providing annotated examples of how these were done for different projects, but significantly through looking through the lens of Dr Christina Pagel, a mathematician at UCL, from writing her grant to update the formula used to take into account the complexity of surgical cases in monitoring hospitals that carry out children’s heart surgery through to developing a website to communicate the research and its significance.
Worth a read-through for anyone thinking of doing user-testing and audience consultations - especially if communicating tricky or complicated topics is at the heart of your work.