There’s always going to be a gap between your research and the world.
Between your research’s complexity and your audience’s attention span.
Between your research’s messages and your audience’s priorities, values and desires.
Between your single piece of research and the rest of the literature it fits into or contradicts.
Between your research question and the problem that might have prompted it.
Between your research findings and the solution it suggests or supports.
Between what your research doesn’t specifically address and what else it might help us think about, anyway.
Between your research and your ideas — good, bad or crazy.
Between your research and the strategic goals of your organization.
Between your research and your talk, your interview, your video, your podcast.
Between your research and your impact on the world outside research.
These gaps have nothing to do with journal paywalls or jargon. These gaps are structural; they describe the limits of research and, by extension, the limits of simply communicating the research.
What fills the gaps? For most researchers, nothing.
But if you’re a researcher who’s also a public expert, you fill the gaps.
You fill the gap between the research and what the audience thinks it has time for.
Between what you thought the audience wanted going into the research and what you found out they really want.
Between the research and the context.
Between the research and the idea.
Between the research and the problem and the solution.
Between the research and its meaning.
Between the research and the silence of other researchers.
Between the research and your impact.
It’s non-negotiable, and it’s your call and yours alone. Either you do the work of the public expert, or the gaps between your research and the world remain.