De-jargoning your research

De-Jargoning Your Research

Learn the techniques

With your postgraduate training, you are on the way to becoming an expert in your field. Unfortunately, there’s a chance that the person interviewing you is not.

De-jargoning your research allows you to effectively communicate your research skills and experiences to a wide range of employers with diverse backgrounds. Done well, it demonstrates the relevance of your academic research to the industry and shows how you can contribute to the organisation.

Read this guide to learn different ways to de-jargon your resumes and interviews. If you need a refresher, check out our guides on resume writing and interview skills.

01

How much should you de-jargon?

The extent of de-jargoning depends on the keywords used in the job description. Retain jargon in resume/interview responses if they are present in the job description.

How Much You De-jargon Depends On The Job Description

You can determine which words and phrases do not require de-jargoning by referring to the job description. Highlight the technical skills and domain knowledge that are needed for the role. These words are usually technical terms that are well known within the hiring team and do not require de-jargoning.

What if my interviewer is HR manager who is not trained or familiar with my field?

You can continue to use the jargon and technical expressions used within the job description. The HR manager, despite not being technically trained, would be looking out for those skills.

If you decide to use jargon and other terms not mentioned in the JD, you must simplify it for the non-technical interviewer. This also demonstrates your understanding of the topic, and your ability to communicate it to a diverse audience. Sometimes you will have both a technical person and a non technical person in the interview room so you must be able to engage both simultaneously.

02

De-jargoning Techniques

There are 3 methods you can use to simplify your written and verbal communication to employers.

De-jargoning Techniques

Generalisation

Definition

Replace the jargon with a general term or phrase that can be used to represent it. Not a direct synonym.

Example 1:

Before de-jargoning:

Characterized the concentration data of VOCs using positive matrix factorization to apportion the biogenic & anthropogenic sources of these contaminants.

After de-jargoning:

Characterized the concentration data of VOCs using computational modelling to apportion the biogenic & anthropogenic sources of these contaminants.

Example 2:

Before de-jargoning:

Identified a panel of 5 potential mRNA and miRNA biomarkers responsible for the differentiation of LNCAP cells into iPS by analyzing their expression profiles in human tissue and urine samples using TMA.

After de-jargoning:

Identified a panel of 5 potential genetic biomarkers responsible for the differentiation of LNCAP cells into iPS by analyzing their expression profiles in human tissue and urine samples using ELISA and TMA.

Elaboration of Acronyms

Definition

Expansion of the acronyms into the actual words. This method is effective only if the words in the acronym are not jargons.

Example 1:

Before de-jargoning:

Characterized the concentration data of VOCs using positive matrix factorization to apportion the biogenic & anthropogenic sources of these contaminants.

After de-jargoning:

Characterized the concentration data of Volatile Organic Compounds using positive matrix factorization to apportion the biogenic & anthropogenic sources of these contaminants.

Example 2:

Before de-jargoning:

Identified a panel of 5 potential mRNA and miRNA biomarkers responsible for the differentiation of LNCAP cells into iPS by analyzing their expression profiles in human tissue and urine samples using TMA.

After de-jargoning:

Identified a panel of 5 potential mRNA and miRNA biomarkers responsible for the differentiation of LNCAP cells into iPS by analyzing their expression profiles in human tissue and urine samples using Tissue Microarray.

Simplification

Definition

Replacement of jargon with a layman synonym or a synonymous phrase.

Example 1:

Before de-jargoning:

Characterized the concentration data of VOCs using positive matrix factorization to apportion the biogenic & anthropogenic sources of these contaminants.

After de-jargoning:

Characterized the concentration data of VOCs using positive matrix factorization to determine the naturally-occurring & man-made sources of these contaminants.

Example 2:

Before de-jargoning:

Identified a panel of 5 potential mRNA and miRNA biomarkers responsible for the differentiation of LNCAP cells into iPS by analyzing their expression profiles in human tissue and urine samples using TMA.

After de-jargoning:

ChIdentified a panel of 5 potential mRNA and miRNA biomarkers responsible for the reprogramming of prostate cancer cells into stem cells by analyzing their expression profiles in human tissue and urine samples using TMA.

Try using one or more techniques for your own points.

Here is an example with all three points together.

Original statement:

Established a reproducible synthesis method with strengthened nanostructure and increased porosity of LiFePO4 LIB cathode material, leading to better conductivity and 20% increased capacity.

De-jargoned:

Established a reproducible chemical method to produce a (lithium iron phosphate) Lithium Ion battery material with improved properties, enabling a 20% improvement in performance.

Legend: Generalisation, Elaboration of acronyms, Simplification

03

The De-jargoning process

Recruiters look beyond your grades, talents and skills to evaluate your character. A great way to demonstrate an impressive work ethic is by tailoring your resume and interview to whomever is assessing you. That means, knowing when and what to de-jargon.

Use the two flow charts provided to decide if and how you should de-jargon your resume and interviews.

De-jargoning resumes

The flowchart below shows the process to identify the most suitable de-jargoning approach.

De-jargoning interviews

The flowchart below shows the process to identify the most suitable de-jargoning approach.

Learn best practices for resume writing and interviewing