Scientific Storytelling

Communication, UMass, 2022

Beautiful land, evil dragon, sharp sword, attack plan

Scientific stories can be told in much the same way as fairy tales. For example, consider this simple cartoon and compare the basic beats of the story to those of effective scientific communication.

The story beats, and the corresponding scientific elements, are:

  1. There once was a beautiful land,
    • background and motivations
  2. but it was invaded by an evil dragon;
    • the problem or gap in knowledge
  3. luckily, our hero has a sharp sword perfect for the task,
    • a method perfect for this problem
  4. and they have a plan to go forth, slay the dragon, and restore the land!
    • a plan to use that method and contingencies

Thank you to Zoe Nordquist for making this cartoon!