Communicating Science


Course Objective

At the end of the course;
the student has acquired knowledge and understanding of:
(1) the broader role of scientists in society, and the dilemmas involved
(2) Valorization and the role of scientists in communicating scientific
(3) The value of scientific knowledge in political and public debate,
and the ways in which scientists can play an active role in politics
(4) How scientific knowledge can be used and mis-used by political
the student has acquired the competences to:
(5) prepare and conduct an interview of a person with specific expertise
(6) tailor the content and structure of a popular scientific article to
a target audience (e.g., a broad public of lay people, a broader
academic community, professionals)
the student is able to
(7) argue whether or not they should actively engage in public debates
about scientific topics
(8) choose which outlet of a popular scientific publication is most
fitting (e.g., blog, newspapers, social media, or a combination)
(9) choose their focus and writing style based on a target the audience
The student has acquired the communication skills to:
(10) collaborate with, and provide and receive feedback from, peers in
an international and
Interdisciplinary environment
(11) present results and conclusions of a qualitative interview to a
peer audience
(12) write about science and scientific research for a general public
and societal stakeholders in a clear manner.

Course Content

The impact of social science research is much more than the number of
citations in academic outlets. In addition to these traditional outlets,
scientific discourse nowadays increasingly occurs on fast online
blogging sites hosted by individual researchers or groups, or
interactive scientific news sites. This trend fits an increasing
emphasis for scientists to valorise their work and show the societal
relevance and real-world impact of their research. This course teaches
you about the role of social science in society, and improves your
skills in communicating academic research to a lay audience, policy
makers, and other societal stakeholders, beyond the traditional means of
journal articles and books.

Teaching Methods

Workgroups and practical meetings in which we actively discuss
literature and examples, and work on assignments

Method of Assessment

Students are graded based on two assignments (each 50% of total grade)
in which they (1) conduct an interview and produce a short report and
presentation, and (2) write a blogpost/ popular science article


A list of articles will be published at the start of the course

Target Audience

Research master Societal Resilience students

General Information

Course Code S_COS
Credits 3 EC
Period P6
Course Level 600
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator dr. C.J. Beukeboom
Examiner dr. C.J. Beukeboom
Teaching Staff dr. C.J. Beukeboom
S. Cankaya

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Study Group, Reading