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The Power of Language in Science Communication and Research

March 30, 2016
Dr. Laura Sample McMeeking, CSU STEM Center Associate Director

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Abstract

As humans, we use language to convey meaning every day. As scientists the language we use at work may have a different meaning from the language we use at home. When we communicate with or ask questions of different groups of people, our language necessarily changes. But how do we know that others understand us? How do we know we haven't made assumptions about others when we talk to them or ask them questions? In this interactive talk, we will discuss how language plays an important role in how we communicate science and how we elicit information about our science from others. Through real examples of forecast discussions, survey questions, and public communication, we will see how the words we choose and assumptions we make can drastically affect how others interpret our meaning and we interpret theirs.