Project PLan Psy: Plain Language Summaries of Psychological Meta-Analyses

Project details

Funding Bilateral Funding by MWWK and BMG
Grant Term 2 years (2021-2022)
Principal Investigator Dr. Anita Chasiotis (Head of the PLan Psy project)
Project Partner: Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research (LIR), In-Mind
Project Staff Gesa Benz, M.Sc., Mark René Jonas, M.Sc., Martin Kerwer, M. Sc., Marlene Stoll, M.Sc.

Project Description

Plain Language Summaries (PLS) of meta-analytic scientific evidence are commonly used in the field of medicine. This specific type of science communication provides laypeople with an evidence-based foundation for informed decisions. However, guidelines and criteria for PLS vary between providers and are often not empirically validated. In the field of psychology, PLS are not yet well established and no evidence-based standards or best practices exist for writing PLS for psychological meta-analyses.

The project "PLan Psy" addresses this issue and aims to develop an evidence-based guideline for writing PLS for meta-analyses in psychology. The project also investigates how the concept of "living evidence" of community-augmented meta-analyses (PsychOpen CAMA, under development at ZPID) as well as scientific quality of evidence in meta-analyses can be communicated to laypersons.

In the first phase of the project, experimental studies will be conducted: characteristics of PLS of psychological meta-analyses (e.g., approaches for explaining technical or statistical terms) will be systematically varied and their impact on relevant outcomes (e.g., comprehensibility, objective knowledge) will be investigated. Based on the insights gained, we will develop guideline criteria and suitable training materials for PLS authors, which will be evaluated by means of target group surveys.

Main project outputs, the evidence-based guideline and training materials, will be made publicly available. Thus, PLan Psy supports the evidence-based communication of synthesized scientific findings to laypersons even beyond psychology. A further goal is to integrate the writing of PLS into the regular operations of ZPID, providing comprehensible and openly accessible summaries of psychological research.

Cooperation partners of the project are the Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research (LIR) and the peer-reviewed psychology magazin In-Mind.


  • Weißkopf, M., Wilkoszewski, H., van den Bogaert, V., Chasiotis, A., Fähnrich, B., Frank, A., ... Wichmann, C. (2021). Qualität in der Wissenschaftskommunikation. In BMBF-Referat Wissenschaftskommunikation; Wissenschaftsjahre (Eds.), FactoryWisskomm: Handlungsperspektiven für die Wissenschaftskommunikation (pp. 43-50). Berlin, Germany: BMBF.

Conference Papers

  • Chasiotis, A. & Stoll, M. (2021, Mai). Das Projekt PLan Psy. Eingeladener Vortrag am Zentrum für internationale Bildungsvergleichsstudien (ZIB), 05. Mai 2021, online.