Writing about your research
Writing about your research for a lay audience can be challenging. It helps to break your research down into the following questions:
Why does this research matter?
What is this research trying to accomplish? (What was the issue you were studying?)
What did you do or test?
What were the outcomes and methods used in this research?
What is the impact of this research?
Where can I go to read the complete paper?
What are larger themes, takeaways, or implications of this research?
What is the overall point or insight from each section of this research report?
What are the next steps?
How does someone access the complete data set or report?
How does someone contact the team?
It's easier for people to understand complex research when it's easy to digest and written in lay terms they can understand. We recommend using plain language to summarize the research and including charts and graphs, when helpful.
Pew publishes their research with a link to the full report, a section called 'Key Themes of this Report', and an overview of what's contained within the report itself. They also use both bold and italic typefaces to highlight important information.
The Google Civic Innovation team recently published a report that included an abstract, the full qualitative and quantitative findings, top insights, and implications of the research. All sections were written in a clear and user-friendly way that assumed no prior knowledge of the topic. We liked that they also included a deck that gave concrete examples and key takeaways — and was quite easy to understand.