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

Project details

Funding: Internal Funding
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., Dr. Martin Kerwer, Pawel Nuwaltzew B.A., Dr. Marlene Stoll

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) 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.


  • Benz, G., Jonas, M., Kerwer, M., Stoll, M. & Chasiotis, A. (2021). PLan Psy - Interessenkatalog: Eine empirisch fundierte Klassifikation psychologiebezogener Interessen in der Allgemeinbevölkerung: Entscheidungshilfe zur Selektion KLARtext-relevanter Meta-Analysen in PSYNDEX. PsychArchives.

  • Jonas, M., & Stoll, M. (2021). Opening Up Science: KLAR-Texte als Tor zur Wissenschaft. Open Password.

  • Kerwer, M., Chasiotis, A., Stricker, J., Günther, A. & Rosman, T. (2021). Straight from the scientist's mouth - Plain language summaries promote laypeople’s comprehension and knowledge acquisition when reading about individual research findings in psychology. Collabra: Psychology; 7(1), 18898.

  • Kerwer, M., Stoll, M., Jonas, M., Benz, G., & Chasiotis, A. (2021). How to put it plainly? Findings from two randomized controlled studies on writing plain language summaries for psychological meta-analyses. Frontiers in Psychology.

  • 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. (2021, März). Raus aus dem Elfenbeinturm! Psychologische Forschung verständlich vermitteln. Beitrag bei Book A Scientist, 18. März 2021, online.

  • Chasiotis, A. (2021, Oktober). Psychologie verständlich vermitteln: Warum und wie? Keynote zum Tag der Psychologie der Landesgruppe Bayern im Berufsverband Deutscher Psychologinnen und Psychologen e.V. (BDP).

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

  • Chasiotis, A., Stoll, M., Kerwer, M., Lieb, K., & Bosnjak, M. (2021, Februar). Evidenzbasierte Kommunikation psychologischer Forschung mittels Plain Language Summaries: Das Projekt PLan Psy. 22. Jahrestagung des EbM-Netzwerks, Halle (Saale).

  • Kerwer, M. (2021, März). Bitte keine Details! Wie sollten wir über Wissenschaft sprechen? Beitrag bei Book A Scientist, 18. März 2021, online.

  • Kerwer, M., Jonas, M., Benz, G., Stoll, M., Chasiotis, A. (2021, June). Communicating psychological evidence to non-scientists. How to deal with the complexity of psychological science? Poster presentation given at the SIPS 2021, June 23-25, 2021, online.

  • Kerwer, M., Stoll, M., Chasiotis, A., Lieb, K., & Bosnjak, M. (2021, August). Knowledge For Everyone: Translating Psychological Evidence Into Plain Language. Poster presented at 19th Biennial EARLI Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction, online.

  • Stoll, M. (2021, März). Gute Studien, Schlechte Studien? Woran wir erkennen können, wie vertrauenswürdig eine Studie ist. Beitrag bei Book A Scientist, 18. März 2021, online.

  • Stoll, M., Kerwer, M., & Chasiotis, A. (2021, October). Translating (resilience) research into plain language summaries: A randomized controlled study. Poster presented at 7th International Symposium on Resilience Research, online

  • Stoll, M., Kerwer, M., & Chasiotis, A. (2021, June). How to write a plain summary of your research: Gain new perspectives and open up your research to a wider audience. Workshop given at the SIPS 2021 meeting [online].

  • Stoll, M., Kerwer, M., & Chasiotis, A. (2021, May). Summing Up Plain Language Summaries: A Systematic Review of Theory, Empirical Research and Guidelines. Presentation at Research Synthesis & Big Data Conference 2021.

  • Stoll, M., Kerwer, M., Lieb, K., Bosnjak, M., & Chasiotis, A. (2021, Februar). Was ist eine "gute" Plain Language Summary? Ein systematisches Review über laienverständliche Kommunikation wissenschaftlicher Evidenz. 22. Jahrestagung des EbM-Netzwerks, Halle (Saale).

  • Chasiotis, A. (2020, November). Raus aus dem Elfenbeinturm! Wie kann man psychologische Erkenntnisse so vermitteln, dass jede und jeder sie versteht? Beitrag bei Book A Scientist, 10. November 2020, online.

  • Stoll, M. (2020, Oktober). Resilienzforschung - Wie funktioniert das eigentlich? Eingeladener Vortrag am Leibniz-Institut für Resilienzforschung (LIR).