Long Dissertation Short

I am passionate about science communication, and I try to come up with accessible ways to present my research to the public. I know that my research is important and work hard to share its value with others beyond academia. I also know that many of my fellow graduate students are also committed to scientific outreach. I am not expert in science communication yet. However; I have sought opportunities to advance my science communication skills. I have plenty of advice to other graduate students looking to do the same, so I am going to write a series of blog posts explaining how I have translated my research to the public and what opportunities are available.

Shelby Servais' dissertation summarized in a word cloud.
Here is the first and most simple; I created a word cloud with the top used words in my dissertation. I think the dissertation is necessary to communicate the findings of your research in an academic setting. However, it is probably the least accessible format for the public. The word cloud I generated is a simple overview of the key terms in my research. For reference, I used the word soil 612 times! Basically, this word cloud shows the most common terms I use to describe my work. I study soil microbes and how their functioning is altered when exposed to changing environmental conditions. From this word cloud, I can begin to identify potential jargon that might need to be eliminated or defined for a non-academic audience. Additionally, the summary of terms provided by the word cloud helps me synthesize the focal points of my dissertation.

I would love to see your work in a word cloud! If you have written a proposal, manuscript, dissertation, or even completed your written exams try and make one yourself. Send me (sserv005@fiu.edu) the word cloud for your project and a brief description of your study, and it will be featured on the blog.


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