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Guide to Writing a Media Summary

    As researchers, we are often asked to communicate our findings to policymakers, media and the broader public. Doing so effectively requires composing ideas in a way that they can be clearly understood. Below are some tips for writing an impactful media summary:

      • Start with your most interesting result and write it in a simple, accessible, non-technical way. This can be challenging. Alternatively, start by mentioning a current policy debate/concern or a puzzle and immediately offer your explanation.

      • Think carefully about the main message that you wish to convey. There may be 2-3 interesting results in your study, but you have to focus on the most important message. You can always include further details of results in a separate document.

      • We know that your results might hold under certain assumptions or in some cases only. Do not spend too much time discussing this, as you might confuse your readers. In any case, you can always refer to the paper itself and to your co-authors, where all these details are explained carefully.

      • Try to be accurate, use numbers, statistics, facts, evidence, etc. For instance, instead of just saying, “unemployment increased sharply”, prefer to write, “unemployment increased from 5 to 10 per cent”. You can also mention briefly the data sources that you use and the research methods.

      • Try to find the policy implications of your work and focus on them. Ideally, your paper has identified a topic where the policy debate is misled but once you shed light on this things become clearer. Try to offer policy recommendations keeping in mind potential threats to your suggestions.

      • Stay on the subject, within the word limit and within the deadline. For this type of media summary, you should try to restrict yourself to 500 words.

      • Pick a catchy title for your media summary, which does not have to be the same as your paper title.

      • Once your are done writing your media briefing think of whether this represents you as a researcher and as a person, and meets your professional objectives.

      • At the end of your media summary write your name, affiliation and email, so people can contact you if they wish to receive further details about your work.

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