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One month left to Rewrite the Headlines

by on 2015/11/04

In primary schools and universities across Scotland, pupils and students are busy preparing their entries for our Rewrite the Headlines competition. The competition aims to engage young people with how research is discussed in the media, and to encourage them to develop a critical approach to this (not just in questioning the headlines, but assessing the research behind the stories too). Entries close on 30 November 2015, so there’s still time to get in involved with some great prizes on offer.

Researchers head to the classroom to make headlines

Primary-aged children are exposed to information from a variety of sources, from traditional news media, to newer sources including various media websites and blogs. Our aim with the Rewrite the Headlines competition is to equip them with some basic skills so they can be more confident in exploring these sources, and also expose misinformation where it exists. Our key message with the schools competition is: Don’t stop at the headline. This simple message is at the heart of a series of examples of research in the media delivered via a workshop. By going beyond the headline in these examples, pupils see how selectivity or exaggeration in a headline can be easily highlighted, or indeed suggest where the research itself might be lacking.

Schools across Scotland have been registering for Rewrite the Headlines workshops, and our Research the Headlines contributors and colleagues in the Young Academy of Scotland are busy supporting these, from the Scottish Borders to the Highlands and Islands. When we’re not able to get to a school, materials have been made available so that schools can run their own workshop (with slides and a video to support this).

After the workshop, each class has to choose their own current news story, assess it and “rewrite the headline”. All the entries will be judged by our expert panel, and the winning school will receive £1000 worth of books or technology of their choice.

You can read more about the schools competition here.

Researchers ask students to “rewrite the headlines”

Rewrite the Headlines is also for undergraduate students to showcase their skills in critically evaluating both research and the media reporting of it. For the competition, entrants will prepare a short blog exploring a recent research finding which has been discussed in the media, and entries from all subject areas are encouraged.

The Research the Headlines group has prepared materials for students to guide themselves through the competition, which can be accessed from the competition website. Students are being encouraged to highlight good reporting, as well as identifying discrepancies between the research conducted and the way that’s been reported in the media. Where those have occurred, students will explore whether the misinterpretation may have come from the media reporting, or whether the research itself is lacking.

Prizes include books and technology, and will be awarded across a range of subject areas. The best entries will also be showcased in a special series on the Research the Headlines blog.

You can read more about the undergraduate competition here.


The Rewrite the Headlines competition is supported by funding from the British Academy, with additional funding from the University of Strathclyde. It runs until 30 November 2015, with prizes being announced at an event in January 2016.

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Competition details can be accessed at https://researchtheheadlines.org/rewritetheheadlines, including full details of how primary schools and undergraduate students can take part. A short trailer promoting the undergraduate competition can be viewed below.

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