How to prepare for writing a lay summary for your research

Broaden the impact of your research with a powerful lay summary

Congratulations! You did it! At last, your article is finished! The feeling of accomplishing a task you set yourself is even beyond rewarding. But that`s not all. In spite of the fact that the academic world can be hugely impressed but your perfectly-written article, you should make it more understandable for people who are not specialists if you want it to be widespread. A lay summary is a very efficient way of conveying the essence of your article briefly and clearly. With the use of this paper, you will be able to demonstrate the impact of your research on the public and how it meets the needs of wider society. Let`s learn how to explain complex research in simple terms and get the key messages across.

What are the key points to remember while writing a lay summary?

Write a clear theme – Provide a good and relevant title and compose the first sentence that offers a concise introduction to the lay summary. State clearly what you are trying to achieve and why it is useful to your audience.

Know your audience – You should always bear in mind that your readers are not scientists. That`s why you don`t need to use formal language. Avoid jargon and technical terms, wherever possible.

Use active voice – Your lay summary should be written in the active voice and the second person should be used in place of the third person. The active voice always shows who is doing what, so the writer`s point is visible, thus easier to absorb that passively written work.

Write a reader-friendly content – Write a lay summary in an easily readable way. Use short, clear sentences broken up into paragraphs for readability and avoid complex grammatical structures. Use everyday English words in place of complex words. Your summary should be ordered logically and flow naturally.

Make your summary more appealing – Use comparisons, metaphors, images, and analogies to make complex ideas clear. Make your writing more direct buy phrasing things in a positive way. Positive constructions are livelier and more appealing.

Eliminate ambiguity – Keep your writing as unambiguous as possible. Start every sentence with the subject, follow closely with the verb, and end with the object. Place all adjectives close to the words they modify.

Know the required word count – If you are allowed 150-200 words to describe your article, be respectful of that limit and do what it takes to make your summary fit that goal. Make sure that your text provides answers to the essential questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why?

Edit your lay summary – Fix errors in grammar, mechanics, punctuation, spelling, and formatting. Improve the way you express your ideas. Change words, sentence organization or punctuation if needed to make your summary more specific and more direct. Your language and sentence structure should follow all appropriate conventions.