A good plain English summary describes your research to both members of the public and interested researchers/potential collaborators who are non-specialists in your particular field. This guide is intended to help you structure your lay summary in a way which is consistent with others on www.phc.ox.ac.uk, and ensures it provides the necessary information for those who wish to find out more about your work.
Avoid technical and scientific terms and explaining complex scientific complexes is not the only challenge you may have in writing your lay summary. You also need to adopt a different tone of voice to the one you may be used to when talking with other researchers. Avoiding nominalisations can help with this:
efficacy of X – how well X works
probability – how likely X is to happen
participate in – take part
prior to – before
discontinue – stop
in the event of – if
inform – tell
scheduled to undergo – due to have
accordingly, consequently – so
utilisation – using
with reference to, with regard to – about
if this is the case – if so
For those projects which are still in progress, how would you like others to engage with you? Are you looking for collaborators? Are you looking to recruit patients to help you design your research – be clear how you wish to recruit them. Link out to technical protocols or pilot studies that can provide further information to specialists, or a call-to-action for patients or members of the public.
Contact your department communications officer or patient and public involvement coordinator.
Involve – Plain English Summaries
Stroke Association – How to write a lay summary
Digital Creation Centre – How to write a lay summaryAccess to Understanding – Guidance
Length of the project:
Department team members:
Relevant pilot studies/follow-on studies:
Technical summary/trial protocol:
Publications arising from this research: