For Effective Science Communication Start with a Solid Mission Statement

Effective science communication, that’s the ultimate goal isn’t it? Being effective requires spending time to develop a sound strategy. But is it worth putting so much effort into creating content for science communication? Is anyone going to read what we write about science?

The first peer reviewed science communication article I read this year brought good news on that front. This article asked a simple question: Science journalism is on the decline, but can scientists fill the gap left by science journalists? I am not going to cover the details of this study, suffice it to say that the results suggest people consume news about science whether it’s written by a professional journalist or a scientist.

So, yes, people will read your science articles if you write them.

Here are some questions to consider:

  1. How many scientists do we need to fill the gap?
  2. What does it take to create effective science communication content?

How many scientists

The answer is not that simple, since we not only need to fill the gap in the number of journalists, we also need to change minds, and reset behavioral norms through our content. How many scientists do we need to debunk the pseudoscience that is so rampant on mass media and social networking sites?

The answer is: we need as many as possible.

A paper we summarized back in 2018 provides evidence for this need in numbers (if you do the math). You can listen to our podcast conversation about the tipping point in social conventions, or browse through our Twitter conversation on this topic.

So, We need EVERY ONE of you to communicate science

How to create effective science communication

What holds the key to effective science communication is where you begin. Here at Science Communication Journal Club, we believe the best place to start is to write a mission statement for your science communication. This is why two years ago we established the State Your Mission Challenge, and this year we are launching our third annual challenge. Through our annual challenge we’ve discovered so many amazing science communication initiatives, and have given prizes to the ones we liked the most. Review these great submissions for the first and the second annual State Your Mission challenge.

However, this year we are doing things a bit differently by asking our community to choose the winners of our challenge. That’s right, since this is an election year in the United States, we want to help our community flex their voting muscles by showing support for their favorite mission statement.

How to enter the State Your Mission Challenge

To enter our challenge for a chance to win prizes and gain exposure to your science communication efforts follow these steps:

  1. Craft your missions statement
  2. Share on Twitter
  3. Make sure to tag us by including @Scicomm_JC and #scicommjc in your tweet

Submit your mission statement by February 4th 2020

What is the prize?

We’ll be looking for the top 3 science communication mission statements:

The First place winner will receive:

  • Feature on our social media channels
  • Feature on our blog
  • Invited guest to our monthly Twitter chat
  • Invited guest to our monthly podcast
  • A hard copy of the award winning book Social Solutions for Climate Change Cover of the Social Solutions for Climate Change book
  • Our signature Nerd of Trust T-Shirt Nerd of Trust T-Shirt Prize for creating an effective science communication mission statment
  • A 2 hour science communication and social media strategy session offered by our Founder Dr. Sherry Nouraini (yours truly), who is also the author of Social Solutions for Climate Change, and instructor of marketing via social media at University of California San Diego.
  • A professionalism and resume/CV review session by our brand manager  Dr. Mariya Voytyuk, who teaches the same topic at Loyola Marymount University
  • A customized strategic advocacy planning session package by our community outreach director Heather Conklin. This gift includes a 10-minute discovery call, 1 hour strategic planning session, and session notes.
  • A 1 hour Podcast for beginners training session and session notes with our own podcast queen Nevena Hristozova

The second place winner will receive:

  • Feature on our social media channels
  • Feature on our blog
  • Invited guest to our monthly Twitter chat
  • Invited guest to our monthly podcast

The third place winner will receive:

  • Feature on our social media channels
  • Feature on our blog
  • Invited guest to our monthly Twitter chat

These are awesome gifts, aren’t they? Make sure to get as many votes as you can.

What is the timeline?

  • February 4th– Submission deadline
  • February 7th– Voting begins
  • February 14th– Voting ends
  • February 17th– Winners announced

How are votes collected?

Easy– Once all the submissions have been received, we will include them into a Twitter Moment on our Twitter profile. All you have to do is browse through the submissions and vote by liking your favorite.

How to write a winning mission statement

Your missions statement must clearly articulate the Who, What, How and Why of your science outreach efforts. More specifically, answer the following questions to help you arrive at your final statement:

1. Who will be the focus of your outreach efforts?

2.  How do you want to approach your audience?

3.  What specific outcome do you aim to achieve?

4.  Why do you think your approach will have a positive impact on science communication?

You can find inspiration by either reviewing mission statements by past winners of our first and second annual contest, or review the example we’ve provided before (scroll to the bottom of the post linked).

Will you accept our challenge?

If the answer is yes, tell your friends!

Important disclaimer: This contest is in no way endorsed, supported or sponsored by Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook.