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Popularizing scientific research has become more common. The goal of popularizing is to bring knowledge of the results of academic achievements to non-academics, financers and to researchers of other fields of scientific interest. In this, media plays a crucial role. Science is being popularized by journals, study books and television programmes.

Is the job of popularizing science the work of an reporter or a journalist? The researcher might have an in depth knowledge of the results of scientific inquiry, but the journalist might have the ability to interpret this knowledge and distribute it to the public ina way that the results are understandable to all. At best, these two aspects are present when one is efficiently communicating scientific results. In practice, seamless co-operation with journalists and researchers is necessary.

The differences between scientific and popularized article

Target group
Research report is intended for scientific audience. Popularized scientific article instead, is intended for larger audience without any necessary background knowledge on the subject.

Content requirements
Target group sets the requirements for the content. A Research report contains coherent and adequate, fresh and detailed knowledge. Popularized article tries to motivate the reader with its readability and interest.

Form, style and language
Researcher are used to reading logical and concise text. Popular articles are usually written in a more personal way, using the conventions of fiction, rather than fact.

Illustration
Illustration is to illustrate, but also to lure new readers.

Title
The title of a research repost should be exact and informative. Popurarized article should not be too complex, but instead promote curiosity.

Structure
A research report has a conventional, repeating structure.
An article intended for larger audience has a more free and open structure instead.

Introduction
Popular scientific article should promote curiosity in its instroduction.
Therefore the highlights are usually established in this part of the text.

Research outcomes
A research report introduces exact and also negative outcomes. Popularized article shows instead only the most significant outcomes.

Research methods
In a research report the methods are explained in a way that the research could be repeated if necessary. In an popularized article it is only necessary to explain the methods very briefly if at all.

Results
Results are the most important factor in an popularized article. They are established in the very beginning of an article to promote curiousness. The larger crowd is interested in, how and in what way the results can be utilized and used, and how do they affect the everyday life.

Guidelines for popularizing science:

1. Use clear language.
2. Make things understandable.
3. Make the structure of the article clear and interesting.
4. Promote curiousness to the article.
5. Do not over- or underestimate the reader.
6. Read the readers instructions of the target journal.

More on popularizing science: http://www.biomi.org/biologia/popularisointi.html#

The University of Oulu has its own communications programme, which in many parts deals also with researchers and their scientific communication.http://www.hallinto.oulu.fi/suunnit/raportit/viestra2004.pdf

Sources

Kauppinen, A. & Laurinen, L. (1988). Tekstioppi:
johdatus ajattelun ja kielen yhteistyöhön. Helsinki: Kirjayhtymä.
Tähti, H. & Rantala, I. (toim.) (1998).
Lääketieteellinen viestintä. 2. uud. p. Tampere: Tampereen yliopisto.