January 18, 2019

Mobilizing Research Results Through Video

Sharing research can be difficult. After the long, hard hours and effort dedicated to designing and conducting the work, it is important that the medium you use to communicate your results is effective.   The vast majority of what gets published in scientific journals flies under the radar and gains little notice. A 2009 research study found that 12% of articles in medicine, 27% in natural sciences, 82% in humanities, and 32% in the social sciences go uncited. To move beyond the academic world (the primary audience for manuscripts), and reach other audiences that may care about your work, it is important to learn new techniques that effectively and concisely share research information.   Videos have recently become part of this and are growing in popularity. In today’s fast-paced, digital environment, video tends to be a more engaging and easy to digest format for information delivery to a wider audience.  


Why Use Video?

There are a variety of reasons to consider using video to share your work.  

  • Visual information is fundamental to communication. Human vision is the most highly developed of our senses, therefore, images are a particularly efficient way of communicating information. Add to this the stimulation of other senses (like sound) and you have big bang for your buck!
  • Likely one of the most obvious reasons for its popularity is that video is extremely accessible! Not only could you shoot a video from your phone, your target audience can access the video from any device (such as a phone, laptop, or tablet). Online video sharing technologies (such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) offer promising ways to disseminate to wider audiences, making the latest research accessible and easier to share. Videos can also be shared far and wide, reaching a much larger audience than more low-tech mediums.
  • Speaking of high-tech, videos are exciting and engaging ways to share concepts, especially those that may be complex and hard to describe in writing. Videos often encourage more ‘plain language’ forms of writing and communication, further helping the understanding and comprehension of these concepts.
  • Videos also have a great level of flexibility. You can tailor the video exactly how you want it – you can show the real world, an animated or distorted world, or you can even make and bend reality to convey messages. There are no limits!   

 If these reasons don’t convince you, I encourage you to read this blog, which goes through even more benefits of video use; specifically the benefits to the scientific community and researchers.  


How Do I Make a Video? The Basics

Videos take considerable time and planning. There are some logistical decisions to make, such as the message you’d like to deliver, the style, and the length of the video. A good quality video often requires the right partner to help with filming, animation, drawings, editing, etc.   Then, perhaps the hardest part, is developing the script! This can take a lot of editing and fine-tuning as you work to make the message clear, digestible and easy to understand (Pro tip: Always read your script out-loud! We often write differently than we speak).   Once the video is edited and finalized, you also must consider how you will disseminate and share the video – what resources, networks, channels will you use? Evaluate your methods and ensure you video met its goal!   This sounds like a lot of work right? I know from experience! We’ve created a variety of videos using different formats, each with their own purpose, and each style with their own pros and cons. A few common video styles are listed below and linked to our work!  

  • Data Visualization: A video that visually transforms data into images that effectively and accurately represent information about the data.
  • Whiteboard Animation: A video where an author physically draws and records an illustrated story using a whiteboard like surface and marker pens. The animations frequently are aided with narration by script.
  • Live Action: Videos that are acted, filmed, or described with real people (such as research vlogs).
  • “Screenshots”/Photos with words: A video with pictures, photos, or screenshots and descriptions/sentences that appear (or marquee) across the screen.

While videos can take a lot of time, money, and planning, they can have a big impact when executed well! Try it on your own (to figure it out or save money) or hire a professional. You could even start with a vlog (a video blog!), which is relatively straightforward and simple to do. We have a blog on ‘vlogging’ that goes into more detail on how to build one yourself and important things to consider.   Whichever direction you choose, videos can be a worthwhile investment.   Have questions or need help starting? Ask us! We have experience in all aspects of video design and creation, and connections to great production companies.

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