SESYNC's Communications Toolkit: Getting Started

This is Part 1 of SESYNC's Communications Toolkit.

Getting Started

Think about what impact your research could have.
  • Socio-environmental (S-E) research seeks to answer some of the greatest environmental challenges we face, and researchers often convey their findings with technical language in journals. However, many S-E research findings have broader application to social and environmental issues.
  • By translating your work to broad audiences and thinking about communication throughout the life cycle of the research process, you can simultaneously meet research goals, convey knowledge to the people who need to know it, and achieve greater impact.
  • Science communication work goes beyond the ability of researchers to speak more clearly about their findings. A broader goal is to build a more dynamic relationship between science and society, where knowledge can be exchanged as part of the research process between investigators and the broader community of decision-makers.  
Acknowledge research teams face many communication challenges.  
  • Language specific to disciplines can create communication barriers between and among those working in boundary organizations such as non-profits, the private sector, stakeholders, and others who use knowledge to inform decisions.  
  • Because effective team science requires diligent and open communication to solve critical S-E problems, it can be challenging to also translate your work to broad audiences.
  • We designed this toolkit to overcome some common challenges and we hope this information will enable science teams to engage with audiences to achieve research goals.
When Should You Start Thinking about Your Communications Strategy?
  • Begin a communication strategy at the start of your research process and revisit it throughout. Teams who have continually updated their messaging or communication strategy throughout the research process have found it helpful in refocusing the team’s direction around their research questions.
Draft a communications strategy to engage beyond disciplinary boundaries.
  • This toolkit aims to be a resource for research teams to develop a communication plan that is accessible, relevant, timely, understandable, and credible.
  • SESYNC believes synthesis science is important. Communicating about your work is crucial to achieving broader impacts. Whether the goals are raising the understanding of your interdisciplinary efforts on human and natural systems with specialists outside your area of expertise, or growing understanding of your science among targeted stakeholders and the public, it is important to strategize how to translate your work.
  • In the next steps, we'll help you determine your audience while at the same time build ties to engage with them.
  • NSF, Science Communications, and You

Continue to the next step of the toolkit: What Are Your Goals?