“There is no reason why we should do research, get findings on socio-political and economic issues and fail to disseminate that information to the society.” Hesbon Hansen Owilla, a lecturer and a DAAD PhD Scholar.
As a DAAD Scholar at postgraduate level, I am interacting with a lot of information through reading a lot of scholarly work and meeting academics. As a PhD student, I interact with a lot of information at a much deeper level and sometimes with this broad understanding of issues at this level; I struggle to communicate this knowledge to a non-scientific or non-academic public. Instead of using the knowledge from the academy to influence what happens in the public, we restrict ourselves to the academia.
I have attended the TCC scientific writing course, which focused more on how to write an academic paper then I attended the science communication course which focuses on communication communicating research findings to non-technical audiences.
These include policy makers, and media practitioners and the mass public.
The TCC training courses have given me a good understanding on of how information can be packaged and relayed to the people who need this information for behavior change. The courses help one learn
how to relay information to the end beneficiary of research, who in most cases, consists of a non- technical audience.
I would highly recommend TCC training to researchers out there. There is no reason why we should do research, seminal work, get findings on socio-political and economic issues and fail to disseminate that information to the society. For anyone involved in research, you should consider taking the TCC science communication training to help you disseminate research results beyond the academy.
How do you plan to use the TCC science communication training in your work?
I have come up with a blog together with my students, both at Daystar University and the United States International University (USIU-Kenya). We are looking at what we are doing in school and how it has a bearing in on what is happening in society,; using the blog as a platform to disseminate that information.
I have also been publishing with Nation Media Group and this training has given me a totally different perspective to improve my outputs in such publications. The training has also been useful in helping me reflect on the news analysis programme I participate in on KTN News every Sunday. It made me realize some things that I take for granted. For example, I speak in long clauses. Sometimes I speak in a way that suggests I want people to know how educated I am. What I learnt from the TCC training is that I
need to speak with my audience in mind. I learnt that I need to speak in a way that they will help the audience understand what I am saying but not necessarily them looking at how learned I am.
I am a political communication researcher, given that politics revolves around how resources are distributed in society, my contributions in the media need to speak more to whatever is happening the in the political sphere, speaking to how resources are distributed in society. For example, analyzing a policy statement from the President to demonstrate how it will affect research funding, foreign direct investment or how it will affect the common mwananchi (citizen). Going further, it would be interesting to discuss what a policy means with regards to the legislative power of the common mwananchi, the person who is electing the leaders.
It has been interesting and refreshing to get a different perspective from an expert, on how you can scale down your views and give good soundbites for broadcast media. Upon reflection, I think this is one of the challenges I have had when I have appeared on television. I learned that I need to ensure that I have clear talking points that I foreground during broadcasts.
I am glad that TCC has given me an opportunity to help train the next generation of science communicators. My relationship with TCC started when I attended the training sessions as a DAAD scholar, participating as a trainee. I attended this last course as an observer and a trainer. I would like to encourage other trainees to know that the difference between a trainer and a trainee, is probably experience.
Hesbon Hansen Owilla spoke to TCC Science Communication trainer Florence Sipalla.
I would recommend the Scientific Writing workshop to my colleagues without any objection as it was indeed of high quality and very relevant.Tags: hesbon hansen owilla • scientific communication • scientific writing • university of Nairobi