Elevate the Debate

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-02-11
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Learn how to make data-driven research accessible to decision makers, policymakers, and the general public

Many researchers, scholars, and analysts fail to develop communication strategies that work in today’s crowded landscape of content, research, and data. To be successful, modern researchersneed to share their insights with the wider audience that lies beyond academia. Elevate the Debate helps researchers of all types more effectively communicate their work in any number of areas, from traditional news outlets to the new media platforms of the digital age. After reading this book, you will be inspired and equipped to use traditional and digital media environments to your advantage. This real-world guide helps you present your data-driven research with greater clarity, coherence, and impact.

An array of practical strategies and proven techniques enables you to make your research accessible to diverse audiences, form engaging narratives, and design and implement meaningful outreach plans. Each chapter examines a specific communications strategy, such as data visualization, presentation skills, social media, blog writing, and reporter interactions. Written by expert members of the Urban Institute’s Communication department, and edited by Jonathan Schwabish, a Senior Fellow at Urban, Elevate the Debate guides you on how to use the media environment to your advantage and make a difference through policy insights and policy solutions.

This valuable book teaches you how to:

  • Develop and apply data-driven and story-focused communication
  • Use the “Pyramid Philosophy” of rooting accessible, engaging communications products in sophisticated research.
  • Solve problems with your research by defining goals and recommending conclusions-based actions
  • Identify the researchers, organizations, funders, influencers, and policymakers who are most important to your goals and precisely target their information needs
  • Employ communication styles and strategies to get your work in the hands of people who can use it and act upon it.

Elevate the Debate: A Multi-layered Approach to Communicating Your Research is a must-have resource for academic researches, policy researchers, and all analysts of data-driven research.

Author Biography

Jonathan Schwabish is a senior fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute. He also specializes in data visualization and presentation design as a member of the communications team. His research agenda includes earnings and income inequality, immigration, disability insurance, retirement security, data measurement, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Schwabish is considered a leader in the data visualization field and is a leading voice for clarity and accessibility in research. He has written on various aspects of how to best visualize data, including technical aspects of creation, design best practices, and how to communicate social science research in more accessible ways. He was named a "visualization thought leader" by AllAnalytics in 2013 and speaks frequently on data visualization, open data, and data use in organizations. Schwabish teaches data visualization and presentation skills at Georgetown University, American University, and the Maryland Institute College of Art. He is also founder of PolicyViz, a small consulting firm that helps clients improve how they work with and communicate data and analysis. He also hosts the PolicyViz Podcast, which focuses on data, open data, and data visualization.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface xi

Chapter 1 Why Research Needs a Big Audience 1
Now more than ever, experts need to go further to bring their evidence-based insights to decisionmakers and influencers.

Case Study: Creating a range of products to reach different audiences

Chapter 2 Developing an Audience Outreach Strategy 15
One audience may need a nuanced, thorough analysis of the data and methods; another may need the punchline; and another the most important, bottom-line numbers or facts.

Case Study: Targeting your outreach efforts to different audiences

Chapter 3 An Introduction to Visualizing Your Research 37
Be purposeful about what you include in your graphs and charts so they best serve the needs of your reader and the message you want to convey.

Case Study: Readers devour an easily digestible data visualization

Chapter 4 Better Presentations: More Effective Speaking 67
A presentation is a fundamentally different form of communication than a written report.

Case Study: Using the power of storytelling to communicate your message

Chapter 5 How to Blog about Your Findings 101
By distilling and repackaging your message, you can make that work more appealing to and digestible for broader audiences.

Case Study: Writing timely and accessible blog posts

Chapter 6 Working with the Media to Increase Your Impact 121
Make an interview more than a one-time event; use it to cultivate a relationship with the media so you can be a resource in the future.

Case Study: Quick responses to policy proposals pay off for elite media cultivation

Chapter 7 Social Media Can Build Audiences That Matter 147
Social media platforms can give you the opportunity to connect and converse with new and influential audiences around your research in ways that are both intimate and public.

Case Study: Leveraging Twitter to benefit your research

Chapter 8 Putting It All Together to Make a Difference 175
If you don’t have a plan or a tangible impact in mind, then you risk your work going unnoticed by the people best positioned to act on it.

Case Study: Developing structures and processes for a robust communications team

Bibliography 195

About the Contributors 203

Index 207

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