How to write a lay summary

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About this module

Journal articles are written with researchers in mind, so the content isn’t always easy to follow for people outside academia…or even that field of study! That is where lay summaries, or lay abstracts as they are sometimes called, play a helpful role. They also have another advantage; a lay summary can be a great tool to help you promote your work.

In this interactive module, we look at what a lay summary is and why you, the author, are best placed to explain your novel results. We also offer writing tips covering everything from the ideal structure and length for your lay summary, through to the language you should use. And, we explore what you can do with your finished document, not only to help increase the visibility of your work, but to secure further funding. 

You’ll come away with the skills you need to create a compelling lay summary and an understanding of how it can help you grow your network and career.

About the presenter

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Alex Ford
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Professor of Biology, University of Portsmouth

Dr Alex Ford studied Biological Sciences as an undergraduate at Plymouth University (1993-1996), followed by an MSc in Environmental Biology at University of Wales Swansea (1997). After spells working as a Nature Conservation Officer, Pollution Control Officer and Turtle Biologist, he settled down to a Senior Research Assistant post back in Wales (Swansea University 1991-2001) where he worked on a large European funded project identifying and mapping the epibenthic diversity of the North Sea.

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