How to write a lay summary?
My journal has requested for a lay summary of my article. What is the significance of this? And how should I write it?
A lay summary is a simplified summary or abstract of your research that will make your research accessible and understandable to the general public.
A lay summary is significant because- It serves the purpose of engaging new researchers in the topic of your scientific discovery and increase the visibility of your research, it helps build new collaborations, it helps you improve public relations, and helps the general public by creating awareness about your research, especially for those who can benefit from it. Also, is can support you application for funding, as a lot of funding agencies ask for lay summaries so that they can explain the work to relevant stakeholders). A lay summary is your story to tell. Decide what is important, what needs to be filtered and how to portray it to the audience. However there are certain thing that you need to keep in mind.
You can use the following tips to write a lay summary-
- It should ideally not exceed 100-200 words.
- It should include a brief introduction to your work, the purpose of your work, a simplified description of your study, a summary of your finding, and what does the outcome of your study imply.
- Like every other abstract, it is of utmost importance here to avoid science jargon. Scientific jargon will alienate and exclude your target audience. Explain everything in simple language.
- Before you start writing, ensure that you yourself understand everything well. It will be difficult to simplify things if you yourself do not have a good understanding of it. Tailor your content to your audience.
- Be concise in your writing and do not include details that the audience does not need to know. Prioritize what needs to be shared and stick to that.
- Also go through other lay summaries, to familiarize yourself with the writing style. Most researchers find it easy to communicate with their peers rather than the general public.
Additionally, if you need professional help with writing your lay summary you could consider using Enago’s Citation Booster Service. In addition to simplified abstracts (lay summary) drafting,we also provide help in drafting press releases and tweetable abstracts.