Get your science used—Six guidelines to improve your products

Circular 1419
By: , and 



Natural scientists, like many other experts, face challenges when communicating to people outside their fields of expertise. This is especially true when they try to communicate to those whose background, knowledge, and experience are far distant from that field of expertise.

At a recent workshop, experts in risk communication offered insights into the communication challenges of probabilistic hazard products, suggested tips, and shared their strategies for making products that a targeted audience can understand and use. Although the workshop was held to broaden the understanding and use of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Seismic Hazard Maps (NSHM), the workshop outcomes presented in this report can benefit anyone who develops products based on technical information.

On the basis of research and practice into how people think, use tools, make decisions, and understand scientific/technical information, the social and behavioral scientists, marketers, and social-impact designers at the NSHM workshop provided remarkably consistent guidelines to develop successful science products, such as text, maps, and other products. In this report the guidelines are numbered for clarity, but they can be applied repeatedly, piecemeal, or out of order to fit each project and your resources.

Suggested Citation

Perry, S.C., Blanpied, M.L., Burkett, E.R., Campbell, N.M., Carlson, A., Cox, D.A., Driedger, C.L., Eisenman, D.P., Fox-Glassman, K.T., Hoffman, S., Hoffman, S.M., Jaiswal, K.S., Jones, L.M., Luco, N., Marx, S.M., McGowan, S.M., Mileti, D.S., Moschetti, M.P., Ozman, D., Pastor, E., Petersen, M.D., Porter, K.A., Ramsey, D.W., Ritchie, L.A., Fitzpatrick, J.K., Rukstales, K.S., Sellnow, T.S., Vaughon, W.L., Wald, D.J., Wald, L.A., Wein, A., and Zarcadoolas, C., 2016, Get your science used—Six guidelines to improve your products: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1419, 37 p.,

ISSN: 2330-5703 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • A Strategy to Improve Understanding—Six Guidelines
  • Using the Guidelines
  • References Cited
  • Appendix—About the USGS and SAFRR
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Get your science used—Six guidelines to improve your products
Series title Circular
Series number 1419
DOI 10.3133/cir1419
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Office of the AD Hazards
Description iv, 36 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details