PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Communicating Research as Innovation
A Case Study of the Three Minute Thesis Competition at the University of Georgia

Marlit Hayslett  

This case study employs the theory of diffusion of innovation to examine the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia, USA. Using 3MT as the innovation, this study identified why students participate in 3MT, the impacts of 3MT on their communication skills, and what makes effective research communication. Data collection and analysis include interviews, surveys, and document analysis. Findings show that most students participate in 3MT to improve their skills of communicating their research to non-specialist audiences such as the public. All survey respondents indicated a positive impact of 3MT on their research communication skills. Among factors that improve research communication, the most consistent include preparation; speaking in plain terms and avoiding jargon; and telling a story that connects with the audience. Implications of the findings, limitations of the study, and questions for future research are considered.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.