Blog 3 – Who is your audience?

There is no general public! Each group that you engage with has a shared knowledge base. Effective communication relies on using the knowledge context of that group to plant the new ideas, approaches, or knowledge. Science communication is, therefore, more than just presenting the facts. It is about presenting the facts in a way that is approachable for your target audience. How you deliver your message is tailored every time the audience shifts.

Check out this article about science communication 

So for this blog post try answering the following questions: Who is your audience? What do they care about and what are their throughs on your topic? Why is this topic relevant from them? How will you approach communicating with your audience?

48 Comments

  1. For the animal conservation project, my audience would be people that contribute to species extinction by littering and using/buying certain products. They fail to realize the impact their actions have on entire species. I hope that my project will serve as a wake up call, and/or a call to action to advocate against harmful activities. I was thinking that I could use the harmful items as my medium to make my message more direct. For example, creating a bee out of honey jars, a sea turtle out of garbage, or a rhino out of guns.

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    1. This is a really cool and unique way to actually help cause change. I know nowadays with how much harm we can cause something like this might evoke the right emotions in us so that we can be a better caring species for the world and all of its inhabitants.

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      1. Yeah, I think many people don’t see the seriousness of pollution/hunting because it’s too often “out of sight and out of mind”. By showcasing the direct relationship we have on various species around the world, I hope to raise conservation efforts.

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    2. A project like this could really make a difference in the world! The general public needs to be aware of their impact on the environment and the simplest way to do that is through art. Powerful message!

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      1. I agree, I think that artwork like this highlights the role we as humans play in the lives of animals.

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    3. I think the message behind your project is so important because you don’t just want to convey the science. Through your project, you hope to move people to seek out more information or to action itself, and I think having that extra goal is really significant. It’s obvious that this is a topic you are very passionate, and I think that will really come through in your work.

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    4. Using harmful items as your medium is a really cool idea. It can probably create very great ironic effects and really change the way people usually do with not environmentally-friendly products.

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    5. Even though this was not your final choice of project, I think this is very powerful and a great idea. This would make a great activism exhibit.

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  2. My audience for wildlife conservation project would be consumers of wildlife products. A large number of them may know that their consumption is harmful but don’t know how exactly is their consumption hurting animals cruelly. They care about quality of their lives but may also care more about wildlife under right guidance, since wildlife issues can always invoke human’s sympathy. My approach would be directly showing them the suffering of wildlife and contrasting the suffering with their enjoyment. The contrast can sharply appeal to their emotions and make them realize they are enjoying their lives on the mountains of wildlife corpse.

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    1. Hi Liyan! This sounds like a fantastic idea. Let me know if you would like to meet and discuss this idea in more detail. You want to make sure that the emotional aspect doesn’t erode the message you are trying to convey.

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    2. Hey Liyan, I like your idea here. If you can make it so that people’s experiences with activities that harm the environment remind them constantly of the suffering animals have to go through for that enjoyment, people will definitely think twice about their actions.

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  3. I am still thinking about doing my final project on The Calipari Lab’s research on psychiatric disorders and the related neural dysfunctions. I would want my target audience to be people who are not very knowledgeable on the topic but have a vested interest, including people who have family members with a psychiatric disorder and people diagnosed with or who have a predisposition to psychiatric disorders. Because this research is directly related to these people, they will already be engaged in my presentation. I hope that my project will be informative and communicate the information simply so that they can understand it. In addition, this audience might be very nervous about the topic due to its serious and impactful nature, so I want my project to be sensitive to this. I have various ideas about how I will communicate the research to this audience. Mainly, I am interested in painting a visual of the neural disfunctions, possibly juxtaposing a normal functioning neural pathway with one contributing to psychiatric disorders. Another idea also includes a painting, but instead shows the brain, with the areas that are problematic being highlighted in bright colors. Third, I would want to create an interesting infographic/ drawing that demonstrates the wide variety of disorders, along with pictures of the key areas of the brain associated with these disorders, as many overlap. I believe that any of these ideas would be easy to understand and effective in conveying the message, especially if I include a description next to the paintings. I am still considering other approaches and might want to create something specifically for cover art as well.

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    1. This is a very well thought-out plan! You really seem passionate about the messages you want to convey for this project. I think no matter what medium/styles you use, as long as you remain focused on clear audiences and meaning, it will turn out great.

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    2. As I moved forward in my project, I found that my original idea morphed into something not entirely different but unique from the first. How do think, as you went through the project, did your original idea remained intact, and how did it change, if at all?

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  4. I want to do a piece about either pathology or fertility research topics, and with both of those, I would aim my piece towards an audience that is doubtful or not as knowledgeable about the issues. There is a lot of fear and stigmas surrounding both of these topics and I want to break down some of the misconceptions in order to make my audience realize these topics apply to all of us. That vaccines and disease are not as uncommon as believed and that they are topics that need to be addressed and improved. With a topic pertaining to fertility, to discuss how things such as a miscarriage affect millions of women. By creating a piece that can present such broad issues intriguingly and simply could encourage conversation and willingness to learn about the topics by the audience. The piece itself I don’t believe has to explain or simplify the topics entirely. Instead, I want the piece to encourage a conversation and less closed-minded approach to these topics from both the audience and scientists.

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    1. This is a very unique and interesting route to take on the project. I think that the idea of shedding a light on how common miscarriages are and other related research is great and will be able to be communicated to a larger audience that has a vested interest in this topic.

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    2. This is a very cool and important topic that could actually attract a lot of people’s attention. I really appreciate your approach to explain the topics, since I also think in the short run opening up the conversation is more important than having a very solid scientific explanation.

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  5. Wanting to create a final project on research in the Skaar lab, I have two central ideas in mind. I anticipate it either being an abstracted image depicting the visuals generated in his lab or an abstracted sculpture depicting the infection process involving pathogens and the necessary metals required for infection. The research in his lab focuses on the notion that bacterial pathogens are becoming resistant to all existing antimicrobials. I would like for my audience to be either individuals in hospitals or communities in which infection is prevalent. By conveying the increasing problem to global public health by threats that range from soft tissue infections to anthrax, I would hope that my artwork raises awareness in individuals about the ease of a dangerous infection or to researchers about the importance of this emerging topic.

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    1. Nice Vik! I think a sculpture could be a really creative approach to this project. You can also take images and submit as cover art for his papers. Let me know if you need any help thinking about how to do this!

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    2. I think that this idea is great and very relevant. I think that a 3D sculpture would be a great way to communicate your message to a broad audience, especially because I imagine your target audience would be a very large, and probably less knowledgeable group.

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  6. My audience would be other scientists. As I am doing a research project on chytrid fungus in amphibians, I want to create a visual that will accurately and creatively convey the results of my research to other scientists—specifically scientists with an interest in the fungus or with concern about the global amphibian decline. Hopefully, this art piece can be integrated into or complement my research paper or poster board for presentation.

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    1. Your topic really lends itself well to interesting visuals. What exactly were you thinking–drawings, flowcharts, diagrams, a combination, or another medium?

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  7. For my project, I am thinking of creating an infographic explaining the Skaar or Crowe lab’s work in a more accessible manner than a scientific journal. By accessible, I mean that it will incorporate visual elements and it won’t be very intimidating for people without a background in a field related to their work.

    My audience will be a group of people curious but not necessarily knowledgeable about the topic. They will have a foundation in science (for example, they will know what a protein is) but not specialized knowledge. A typical member of this audience would be an undergraduate student like myself interested in the sciences. Ideally, they will think that the topic is important to understand. I hope that they see the topic as an approachable learning target.

    When communicating to audiences, I think that it’s important to keep the message concise and visually clean. Clutter is intimidating and may turn readers away. This will probably be one of the main focuses in my approach.

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    1. Nice job Jessica! I am excited to see what you make. The cover art that you submitted was awesome and very well thought out. Let me know if you would want to meet and discuss in more detail!

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  8. For my project, I believe I want to use the Calipari Lab’s research on psychiatric disorders and the related neural dysfunctions to inspire a sketch/watercolor series to show the progression of these disorders and dysfunctions through the brain. My target audience would be those, first and foremost, interested in research like that of the Calipari Lab, but also other students and graduates. Though my description should be able to clearly explain the function of the artwork, because it is a little more abstract, I think it would be better if people could understand them without relying entirely on the description. That being said, I hope the aesthetic of the artwork is enough to entice those who maybe are not as educated on the topic and motivate them to do some type of individual research on the lab’s work itself.

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    1. I think watercolor could be really cool because it’s such a simple and traditional way to convey an idea that is so modern and intricate.

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    2. I think you did a great job appealing to both audiences with your final art! I feel that it did successfully appeal to both of the audiences that you mentioned in this post. The colors were beautiful and eye catching and the ideas behind it were very well represented.

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  9. For my project I hope to target an audience of young curious and intelligent students. The best example of what I mean would be our class itself. Students who have an interest in science but who also may not be able to understand all the details of mathematics or advanced scientific jargon should be able to engage in my project. I want my project to be the spark that intrigues their scientific hunger and leads them to want to explore more into the hard science aspect of the subject. The project itself I hope will be some very interesting visual with strong narrative on the inriguing crazy and complex ideas of astro and quantum physics. I hope to tell the audience why physics is so important and maybe why they should even pursue or at least appreciate the field.

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    1. I am very excited that you will be doing a physics-based project! Do you have a particular area of physics that you are interested in? What kind of visual are you imaging?

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  10. I am still thinking of doing a piece for the Skaar lab. I am thinking of using some microscopy images and image editing software to emphasize different aspects of the images. I would also try to take the images and make them more abstract to be more visually attractive to a larger audience. When I create my piece, I want to target it towards a teen-adult audience with minimal to moderate understanding of chemistry and biology. My goal is to make my piece very pretty and interesting to look at so that someone looking at it would ask about how it was made. This would hopefully spark a curiosity for the underlying science that helped create the image.

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  11. My ideal audience would be people who are very visual learners and that have a difficulty understanding science simply through literature. I would want my audience to be people that think abstractly and are able to interpret art and relate it back to science. I would hope my audience are people that think artistically but that are still really determined to obtain accurate scientific information.

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    1. Kashi, this is a great audience to target especially for intro science students. Would you take a piece of literature and draw the major conclusions? What subject are you going to focus on?

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    2. I think this particular audience focus will result in a very visually appealing piece. I know personally, I did better with visuals when I first became introduced to science, so creating even more visuals to facilitate relationships with science is very important. Maybe your piece can be used across a multitude of science skill levels too!

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    3. I really like the fact that you are specifically targeting such an important group of people that could benefit so much if their strengths were catered to. There are not too many presentations that aim to do what you are hoping to do.

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