Sharing Developmental Research with the Public: An Interactive Workshop


If we want our research to make a difference, we need to get better at finding smart and innovative ways to share what we’re learning with the public. I propose a hands-on, interactive workshop aimed at helping developmental scientists learn (and practice) these skills.

Topics might include:

1 – Intentional data visualization (Stephanie Evergreen is doing incredible work in this space)

2 – Science communication (e.g., the Message Box Toolkit put out by COMPASS)

3 – How to get your work into the hands of policymakers

4 – Sharing your work on social media

5 – Tips and tricks for working with science journalists to share your research

6 – Hands-on demonstrations of other novel techniques for sharing research (e.g., whiteboard videos)


Thanks for this, Amy. I’m personally interested in the first 2 points. Can you say more about Stephanie Evergreen’s work? I know a few people who are interested in this and have begun exploring platforms like Tableau, etc. Not sure if that’s related…? And I’ll have to check out the Message Box Toolkit by COMPASS.

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Frameworks has done important work in this area, both on early childhood and recently on adolescence. May be interesting to think about ways to incorporate them.


It may also be interesting to look at how to communicate effectively with different audiences in different settings (e.g., parents, high school students, schools, museums, etcs.).

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I think this is a good idea and I expect it would be well received!

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Hey Gabby! I’m really drawn to Stephanie Evergreen’s work on effective data visualization. She has online trainings, workshops, and a series of books. Her approach is super practical (and focuses mostly on harnessing the functions of Excel). I recently started integrating some of her recommendations into my presentations for practitioners that include data slides; I’ve found the audience to be very receptive to them (and, walking away understanding the key point). She also has a presence on LinkedIn where she shared useful “tips and tricks”. I, too, am curious to know more about programs like Tableau and how they might improve our ability to connect end-users with our data/research. Inviting someone like Stephanie to do hands-on training would - in my opinion - be a great addition to a SRCD workshop.


I agree, Patricia. It’s important not to think of “applied audiences” or the “public” as a monolithic group. I’d love to get better at sharing my study findings back with the teens who participated.


I love this idea and think the COMPASS tool box is excellent. I think what is so great about their toolbox is it teaches scientists to simplify and focus on big ideas/ takeaway and the WHY the research is important to the intended audiences and how they can use it. That is a deeper skill set that researchers could really use to communicate in so many ways - to funders, to parents, to policy makers.

We do work with students at UCLA to help them learn how to communicate to the public through a graduate student led club called Psychology in Action. That might be a nice way to get younger people and students excited about the possibilities?

I also started an organization called The Center for Scholars & Storytellers, and our mission is to share research on child development specifically with content creators (in terms of different audiences) .

Parents are clearly an important group to communicate with as well.


This is an excellent idea! One concern may be that folks in positions at universities may not be able to obtain funding to attend if there are not opportunities to present their own scholarship. Would there be a way to incorporate sharing of ideas into this type of meeting to help folks with funding?


I found that the coaching for giving TED-like talks was very helpful for learning how to not talk like a professor when needed. It would be interesting for such coaching to be made available to SRCD members. It was arduous – kind of like getting a really critical review of a manuscript – but so useful for learning!


I’ve been using 3-minute research videos to convey the gist of several research findings. Being able to SHOW the process studied to other researchers (and the general public) seems to provide greater understanding and memorability than written descriptions are usually able to do. I’m told they are often used in classes.
My most recent 3-minute video, “Learning by Helping,” shows the helpfulness of Mexican-heritage children whose families don’t have much schooling. Our video won #3 in NSF’s Public Choice voting (out of 214 videos), behind a beautiful Monarch video from the National Park Service and a beautiful owl video from the Smithsonian! It was also the second-most discussed video, and has over 25,000 views so far.


And short videos as messaging techniques