Why We Teach Science Storytelling
A significant portion of the American public trusts scientists, and have consistently across the decades. But this trust isn’t translating into actual understanding. There are huge gaps in how scientists and non-scientists in the country understand major scientific topics like GMOs and climate change.
Part of the problem is that most people get their information, including science information, from reading or watching news stories – increasingly online. They consume news this way even though they don’t trust journalists.
When they do hear from scientists, it’s usually in the form of logical-scientific argumentation, because that’s how scientists are trained to communicate. Unfortunately, most people aren’t used to thinking this way. Most of the public receives most of their information as stories. This makes sense, because narratives have a larger impact on our brains than rote information-sharing and are better at transmitting information and persuading, particularly online.
That’s where Massive comes in: we train scientists to tell their own stories directly to the public in ways that will resonate online. No misunderstandings or misinformation, just science from those who know it best, in the most effective format for the human brain: stories. We are building an entire community of scientist-storytellers and a site, massivesci.com, to be a platform for trusted, compelling narratives about science.
Stories are everywhere: in movies, books and TV, but also in the news, in sports, and yes, in science. Why? Because stories are the way human brains seem to process and retain information best. Even scientific information. Even in scientific papers. So, whether you want to embark on a communication career, inform the public about your work, write a better grant proposal, get more citations on a paper, explain something to a patient more effectively, convince a policymaker to take action, or just generally have a better way of talking about what you do, you should learn how to tell a story.
Here’s the good news: our experience at Massive has led us to believe that anyone can learn to tell a story with the right guidance and practice. We exist to help people like you learn to tell stories. Through our experience training hundreds of scientists, we’ve developed a basic lesson and series of exercises that anyone can use to get started telling stories.
These introductory lessons aren’t meant to be exhaustive. But by giving you basic theory, exercises to put that theory to practice, and an easy way to get feedback from professionals and peers, you will dramatically improve your ability to recognize and tell stories, and gain the basic tools you need to start practicing this new skill in your work and life.
In just five weeks, you’ll work with our editors, and with fellow trainees, to learn how to pitch and construct science stories. You’ll emerge with the skills to continue pitching to us and to others, and with a community of like-minded researchers – the Massive Science Consortium – to discuss ideas.
Last updated August 9, 2018