How to leverage storytelling in your writing about research
When writing about research, it can be challenging to find the right balance between showcasing results and crafting a narrative. Consider these tips to tell compelling stories about your research.
Stick to simple and specific
Have you ever read a research story filled with so many details you can’t get through the opening paragraph? Complexity doesn’t always mean better — sometimes adding details can bog your story down, instead of adding meaningful context.
The key to simplicity can be specificity. One personal anecdote or impactful example can be more powerful than several examples with the same outcome.
Be relatable to a broader audience
When writing for the general public, it is imperative to answer the question “what does this have to do with me?” Even if you’re writing about a niche topic, you can make your story relatable by sharing details about the research team’s day and process. Share anecdotes about challenges, setbacks, and successes to draw in your audience. Researchers, they’re just like us!
Exude admirable ethics
Stories share details from a particular point of view, which can make it difficult for audiences to see the facts from other angles. Because audiences will typically accept your storytelling as reality, it is important to represent your organization and research in a truthful light — not just the framing that makes them look good.
Resources for further reading
Build your sense of storytelling by reading and analyzing other people’s stories. Below are a few additional resources:
- Conservation stories from the front lines
- How to Do a Close Read
- How to Cultivate Narrative in Stories of All Lengths
- The Power of Stories with Kendra Pierre-Louis
- Using narratives and storytelling to communicate science with nonexpert audiences
Subscribe to the Department of Energy’s Science Public Outreach Community newsletter for more tips and useful information. If you have questions about how to strategically use storytelling in your writing, reach out to the University Relations Public Relations team at email@example.com.