Science is better communicated with stories

Treating science as a story that should be better told seems contradictory, even more so in the midst of the wave of denial that has spread with the pandemic. However, Delfina Rocca, professor of popular communication at the University of Murcia (UMU), and science journalist and documentary filmmaker Veronica Pardo Quiles, have found a way around this false paradox. They both develop a unique project using the short story as a useful tool for disseminating advances in knowledge.

“The union of literature and science or art and science is highly recommended and beneficial for publishing,” Rocca, current head of the Department of Scientific Publishing Coordination at UMU, is convinced. Urgent demands driven by new technologies are forcing us to test new tools “to bring science to society in an engaging and accessible way,” he explains. Here, in his opinion, “a genre like the short story becomes important.”

“The union between art and science is something that is highly recommended and useful to spread,” explains Professor Delfina Rocca.

After checking its suitability for “science dissemination,” Pardo-Quilz adds, “the results obtained show that they are consistent with the premises analyzed, and that they have been established as a suitable and effective form of communicating science to the public.” This conclusion was reached after analyzing the content of “all the small stories in Spanish that disseminate science, whether explicitly or incidentally,” that they were able to find on the Internet. The essence of the research is completed by the vision of various experts on the subject, who were interviewed for this purpose, among other tasks undertaken in the project.

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“Pioneering Research”

Veronica Pardo, who is completing her doctorate with a scholarship to train university teachers, describes this research as “cutting-edge research that deserves to continue to be explored.” This perception gained ground after the successful publication of an article in the journal “Círculo de Lingüística Aplicada a la Comunicación” (CLAC) published by the Complutense University of Madrid. “It is not easy to place communication research in journals that have such influence,” highlights the specialist.

Developing a short story and science project.


Veronica Pardo calls it “cutting-edge research that is worth continuing to explore.”

Although the scientific reach “is clearly on the rise, you can rely on doctoral theses or existing academic studies on the subject,” says Delfina Rocca, who risks that the research she shares with Pardo “is the first of its kind.” The type that has been implemented, hence its importance and the necessity of continuing to produce studies in this sense.” In this way, he continues, “it can be said that it lays the foundations for new lines of research” about the precise story in the dissemination of science based on the model they designed in their study. On the other hand, he explains that The scarcity of prior work “opens up a wide range of possibilities for developing cutting-edge research that is both socially valuable.”

The study conducted by the researchers is the first of its kind, “hence its importance and the need to do more.”

For Rocca, “the scholarly short story is an essential tool that he used frequently in his classes at the College of Communication and Documentation before conducting this research.” This is confirmed by Veronica Pardo, with whom she is now involved in a research project and who had the opportunity “to enjoy those lessons a few years ago and the enthusiasm of Delfina Rocca to try to disseminate information through writing, imagination and playing with words.” Which makes his students enjoy it.

Delfina Rocca (standing), with her research partner Veronica Pardo.


The spread of barbarism

Hence the seed of this research, which later led to Bardot’s final degree project directed by Rocca, which the former described as a “very fruitful beginning,” not only because she received an honors degree, but especially because the “research base” was there. Consider submitting a study of interest to the community.” This is not an exaggerated statement given the proliferation of unfounded atrocities spreading in various forums. Either science will regain its place among the general public, or superstition will once again dominate our lives. There is no alternative, But there are attractive ways to achieve the first goal, such as the small stories these researchers suggest.

  1. Intensity in a small space of a type adapted to current communication

Delfina Rocca, professor of scientific publishing, explains that the short story is more than an ideal formula for making science more attractive and fun. “Why?” he asks, then points to the answer to characteristics such as “the density of the narrative in a small space or the proactive role of the reader who usually plays an essential role when thinking about the story, or even creating its ending.” . Storytelling also allows scientific findings to be disseminated to an audience unfamiliar with some topics, “drawing their attention and explaining meanings through metaphors or similes that help them understand.”

While the publication explores in greater detail every day the use of social networks, for example, to achieve its goals, “until now there has been no thought about the benefits that the short story offers to reach all audiences and increase culture.” ” he explains. This is despite the fact that he emphasizes that “the short story has become popular”, and points as evidence of this to the emergence of competitions of this genre. Moreover, he continues, “It constitutes a form adapted to the current mode of communication of society, especially through the environment It is already easy to see that “social networks and digital platforms use short and concise texts, such as literary and creative information stories, that allow the transfer of knowledge to the audience.”

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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