Vlachos Research Group Resources

Welcome, Vlachos Research Group members! Here are resources for our workshop sessions together.


In case of technical difficulties during the workshop, contact Sayantan. To turn in your assignments, email Nicole and Pavlos.

Workshop 2: What’s in a Story?

Here is a PDF version of the slides:

For today’s activity, you will read different science-focused articles and deconstruct them to map out their structure. You can think of this as reverse engineering an outline for the article, but be sure to pay close attention to their narrative structure. Here are the articles for each breakout room, and some questions to consider in your discussion:

Breakout Room 1 | Breakout Room 2 | Breakout Room 3 | Breakout Room 4

  • What is the story about? Are there any characters in the story? Remember that, in science communication, the “character” may or may not be a person.
  • Does the narrative arc of the article remind you of any of the example structures we discussed? Are there portions of it equivalent to the IMRAD structure of a journal article? Is there a hero’s journey? Can you identify sections corresponding to rising action or a climax?
  • How do these articles differ from a journal article? What kind of language do they use? Are they more interesting to read, in your opinion, than a journal article?

Assignment #2

Build a narrative arc and outline for your blog post based on your key message from Assignment #1. You are welcome to use one of the structures we discussed today or one of your own choosing, except for the Introduction-Methods-Results-Analysis-Discussion-type structure used for journal articles. Remember that your blog post can be more informal in its framing; think about how you can use a structure to invite your readers in and engage them in your story.

Remember to email your assignment to Nicole and Pavlos by May 31st.

Workshop 1: Finding Your Message

Here is a PDF version of the slides:

For the Half-Life Your Message activity, you can use the following procedure and timer if Zoom messages are not appearing in your breakout room.

  1. Choose who will go first. Refer to your brainstorming notes to remind yourself of your topic and ideas.
  2. Use the video timer embedded below to give a 60 second talk on your topic, then a 30 second one, 15 second one, and an 8 second one.
  3. During the reflection period, the speaker can take notes on what they learned while the next speaker is selected.
  4. Repeat as needed for each participant to get a chance.

Assignment #1

Select a past or upcoming paper to write your blog post about. Use Half-Life Your Message (or other tools) to determine the key message of your blog post. Remember to email your topic and message to Nicole and Pavlos by April 15th.