Frequently Asked Questions: The Benefits Section
My So What is similar to the Benefits. Is that a problem?
No, that’s not a problem. The Message Box is a sorting tool to help you decide what is most important. You may end up with only three key messages, or even less. It’s not about filling the boxes, it’s about deciding what is the most important thing to say, out of all the things you could say. If the So What and Benefit are similar, that’s fine. But make them relevant to your target audience.
What if the only Benefit I can think of applies to future researchers?
That’s fine, if your audience is scientists who are interested in long-term benefits for research. For an audience of non-scientists, though, try to think about how your research could connect back to the So What. If this was basic research that told you something new about the world, consider the applications down the road that this audience might care about, or why these discoveries might connect with them emotionally.
How do I avoid over-promising the Benefit?
Often, societal and environmental benefits accrue through a combination of efforts, approaches, and solutions. Your work might only be one part of that larger solution. It’s okay to identify the larger-scale benefits your work will contribute to. Just make it clear that the solutions you’ve identified are only one piece of the puzzle. You might also revisit your Problem statement and make sure that it’s appropriately scaled for the Solution identified. If necessary, you can include qualifiers such as “could,” though be prudent with your caveats and only use them when you really have to.