Writing about Research Concepts in Everyday Language

Making complex research concepts easily accessible to policymakers and practitioners can be challenging for researchers who have been trained to write for an academic audience.

A recent report prepared for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Going Public: Writing about Research in Everyday Language, describes three techniques for writing more plainly about study design, measurement, and data analysis:

1. Making concepts simpler — how to use simple language to convey research concepts while ensuring they convey the same meaning.

2. Writing for the general reader — how to determine what the reader really needs to know. Clarity about key messages can lead to simpler and more direct writing.

3. Writing to reduce misinterpretation — how to minimize the likelihood that readers will misinterpret research concepts by considering the possible areas of confusion and addressing them directly.

The report includes a glossary that shows how to apply these approaches to writing about commonly used concepts in impact research such as regression analysis and effect size.

This report was prepared for the IES by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE).

Reprinted from IES News Flash, publishing up-to-date alerts about breaking news from IES, its centers, and various programs.