There's Research on That: Translating and Sharing Sociology for Public Audiences

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This article draws a decade of experience editing and publishing, and four more years editing Contexts magazine. Both projects work to bring sociological research and insight to broader public audiences, visibility, and impact. Here we build upon Herbert Gans' original call for public sociology and his emphasis on the translation and dissemination of sociological research, insight, and context on social issues and problems for broad public audiences. We begin by detailing the general challenges of such communication-oriented public outreach and engagement. We then use our work with The Society Pages, one of the largest sociological hubs on the internet, as a case study for doing this work and addressing these challenges. Key points of emphasis include: (1) the core challenges and key principles of writing for general, nonacademic audiences; (2) organizational and infrastructure-related needs and some pragmatic recommendations for institutionalizing publicly engaged sociology; and (3) the critical role of graduate students in these endeavors. We conclude that sociologists ourselves are best positioned to share our work with public audiences and we identify some benefits for the discipline in doing such engaged scholarship over a sustained period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1106-1123
Number of pages18
JournalSociological Forum
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Sociological Forum published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Eastern Sociological Society.


  • The Society Pages
  • audiences
  • contexts
  • institutions
  • public sociology
  • publishing


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