Knowledge Hub

This material summarizes the purpose of a lay language summary and provides a summary of key points with brief explanations of how to write the summary.

Translating a Publication to a Lay Language Summary

Knowledge Hub

This material summarizes the purpose of a lay language summary and provides a summary of key points with brief explanations of how to write the summary.

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Synopsis of resource

The document Turning a Publication to a Lay Language Summary serves as an instructional resource for individuals to successfully create a lay summary. A lay summary is a description of main points from a publication that aims to inform the public about applicable research studies and/or scientific findings. Plain language should be incorporated into the summary by using short sentences and simple vocabulary to maximize the comprehension of the information to the general public.

The writing process includes three main phases: preparing, writing, and proofing the lay summary. The preparation phase involves identifying a specific audience and locating the main points in each section of a publication. Then, the writing phase is comprised of turning the main points highlighted in the preparation phase into plain language sentences. Finally, the proofreading phase includes three different reviews from the author, a professional in the same field, and a layperson.

Key learning outcome

  • A lay summary is created from the information in a scientific publication.
  • The lay summary is often used to deliver general information to the public or to inform potential participants about a research study.
  • Technical components to increase the comprehension and readability include the use of plain language (short/simple sentences) and the active voice.
  • The writing process has three main phases: preparing, writing, and proofreading.
Emma Simpson

Author

Emma Simpson is an undergraduate volunteer in the Gillick Pediatric Neuromodulation lab. Currently, she is studying biology in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a goal of attending medical school to become a pediatrician. She is particularly interested in medical science and child development. With a strong foundation of science education, she is applying her knowledge and continuing to develop scientific skills in the research setting. In the Gillick lab, she is assisting with the research studies and any lab activities that occur. She is continuing to learn about perinatal strokes, cerebral palsy, and neuromodulation/tele-neuromodulation techniques through involvement in the lab.