Skip to main content

Unit information: Communicating Science in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Communicating Science
Unit code PSYCM0042
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Turk
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit aims at developing the students’ competencies in written and oral scientific communication through the following activities.

a) Write a media report on scientific results for public consumption as a newspaper press release.

b) Design a workshop for school children on a theme of their choosing (e.g., in line with aspects of the Brain Box Challenge currently run from the School of Experimental Psychology)

You will also attend one public engagement event or school outreach workshop and provide a short report for the School news feed. We will select the best example and use this on our website. This element will not carry a percentage of the unit mark, but must be completed by all students.

These activities will be accompanied by nine 2-hr lectures that will explore the important function that public engagement has within scientific dissemination and how best to communicate psychological science to members of the public as well as undertaking practical outreach and public engagement activities in the community.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful participation in the unit will enable students to communicate scientific ideas across a broad spectrum of public consumers (e.g., the media, children, adults etc.) in a confident and appropriate manner for that audience.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered by nine x 2 hour lecture and supervision of outreach sessions. Students will be encouraged to volunteer for school outreach sessions run by the School of Experimental Psychology. To facilitate this all students will be encouraged to volunteer to be STEM ambassadors.

Assessment Information

The students will be assessed on their ability to provide effective public communication of science. Assessment involves coursework only: Press Release (50%), Public Engagement Activity (50%).

Reading and References

Students will be encouraged to read material such at the “NY Times Science” pages and various web blogs, “The Conversation” and other social media outlets for science communication. Students will also be offered the opportunity to gain further experience of public engagement through the School outreach programme and the STEM Ambassador scheme.