New Media

How to use video summaries to increase the impact of your research

How to use video summaries

Video summaries tell the story of your research like few other forms can

Video summaries are essentially animated summaries of research papers. In other words, they are, in a way, the big screen adaptation of your manuscript. The idea is to explain the main concept and background of a study, methods, and results within a few minutes. Video summaries are an effective way of presenting research and engaging a lay audience. They can add a new dimension to how a study is explained and simplify complex concepts for non-academic audiences. They’re also a fantastic promotional tool for researchers!

How I go about creating a video summary or abstract

The most challenging aspect of creating video summaries is time. No one would want to watch a really long video about a study. So, the key is to ensure that the summary is brief, interesting, and effective. I work with our team of subject matter experts to create engaging scripts and begin presenting and animating the concepts we come up with. I also work with narrators to ensure that we’re telling a meaningful story. I also do my own research to understand the topic better, because that helps me to create a more impactful video.

Let’s look at an example

Text 2

And here’s a video on the same research topic.

The video summarizes the study the for you and it tells you what you can expect to expect to find in the full version of the manuscript.

A few tips to help you with your video summary

A few quick tips to help you while the video summary of your work is being created:

  • Know your audience: This is critical. If your audience is technical, feel free to use complex animation, but if the video is intended for a lay audience, the script and the visuals would need to be simpler but clear.
  • Keep it short: Very few people have the time to watch lengthy videos, so keep it short and engaging – not more than 3-5 minutes.
  • Check the audio quality: Almost all research video summaries have some form of narration. So, make sure that your audio files are clear.
  • Don’t use too much text:Remember, the idea is to pique someone’s curiosity in your work, so don’t use too much text. Rely on visuals to engage your audience.

So, have you come across any animated scientific figures before? If yes, did they enhance you understanding of the figure? Let me know your thoughts about making scientific figures come alive.

That’s it from me! I am not a scientist and I haven’t spent much time in writing scientific manuscripts. But, I love to see science come to life. And, as a science communicator, I look at research articles as a great avenue engaging an audience. I constantly work towards making science more engaging for the public. I am a visual thinker, but I always remember that visual formats are not a substitute for robust scientific research. They’re just an incredible way to generate curiosity about a study, increase its impact, and promote it on social platforms.

I’ll leave you with this thought:

Everything that is beautiful is not interesting. This applies to visual formats of research communication too! While creating an infographic, animated figure, or video summary of your research paper, focus on the simplicity more than on intricate visualizations.

If you’d like to know more about how you can disseminate your research through interesting visuals, do write to me in the comment section.


This article is the second in a 3-part series on Unearthing the Power of Visuals in Research Communication! Read Part 1 on Infographics here and Part 2 on Animation here.

About the Author

A scientific content visualizer talks us through how converting complex scientific information into infographics, animated scientific figures, and video summaries can accentuate the impact of scientific research.

About the Series:

Prasad Balgi

Bio: As Studio Head at Impact Science, he manages a team of multimedia experts to help researchers and authors simplify their research. Prasad strives to make science communication more interesting by bringing science to life with engaging and easy to understand multimedia formats. He is also a traveler at heart and captures his experiences with his photography.

Write to us at or fill in your details below to learn how we can help your research come alive!

    Prasad Balgi


    1. Avatar
      Rohan Mehta 8 January, 2020 at 12:11 Reply

      I really resonated with the idea that humans are visual learners and science can be taught so much more engagingly and effectively using these techniques. These posts were quite insightful.
      I was wondering how interactivity could add a lot to science communication too? Like maybe instead of static infographics there could be dynamic visualizations and the viewer can learn via interacting with the media? I would love to hear your thoughts on that.

    2. Avatar
      Prasad Balgi 20 January, 2020 at 19:40 Reply

      Hey Rohan, thank you for your comments. Yes, people are using different forms of science communication tools these days and interactivity is gaining popularity.

      Imagine being able to explain a complex data set visually as though you’re playing a game. Or what if you could interact with 3d elements on screen, rotate it, zoom it, and learn from it? Or imagine a research based on astronomy presented through a webpage where elements interact with you as you scroll, giving you a sense of travelling into the space?

      Science communication is a vast topic and interactivity adds another dimension to this. This topic makes for a detailed post and I’ll surely write about it very soon. Stay tuned, Rohan!

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