From the editor’s perspective: Writing for non-academic audiences

Knowing how to write for nonacademic audiences is a key skill for researchers who want to have an impact beyond professional journals. Industry, institutions, policymakers, the general public and other stakeholders need research findings communicated in simple terms to aid them in decision making.

Being able to appeal to a larger audience beyond the academic community has other benefits as well. Researchers who are skilled at translating their work for a lay audience tend to gain research funds and consultancy opportunities, establish an online presence and increase their number of citations.

Representing your own research for general readers also is the best way to clarify any controversies around your work.

This Feb. 21 training on how to write for a non-academic audience covered the kind of information that is useful for practitioners, how to structure a non-academic article and keeping an article interesting for practitioner readers. 

Key questions the training answered include: 

  • What is the typical structure of a non-academic article? 
  • What do editors look for in this type of writing? 
  • How does this type of writing differ from an academic paper? 
  • How important are graphs and other visual elements and how should they be used? 
  • What findings are of interest to practitioners as opposed to academics? 

About the presenter:

Bob Trebilcock

Bob Trebilcock has been a magazine writer and editor since 1980. His work has appeared in magazines as diverse as Sports Illustrated and Reader’s Digest. For nearly 20 years, he was a consumer and personal finance writer for Good Housekeeping magazine, as well as Yahoo Finance and CBS MoneyWatch.

He has covered the materials handling and supply chain management fields for nearly 40 years, serving as the executive editor of Modern Materials Handling since 2009 and the editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review from 2013 to 2022. He is also responsible for producing the NextGen Supply Chain Conference, an annual event focused on emerging technologies for senior level supply chain managers.