Shaping the Dramatic Arc

  • Itai Cohen
  • Melanie Dreyer-Lude


The shape of your story is a critical component in effectively transmitting your core message and inspiring interest in your research. Many researchers make the mistake of assuming that presenting the facts in a logical, sequential manner will be the most effective way to convey the content of their work and the professionalism of their approach. The problem is your audience may be asleep before you communicate your essential finding and may remember little of what you worked so hard to tell them. When someone steps into a room (a theater, a lecture hall, a conference auditorium) and sits down to listen to a speaker who will be engaging their attention for a period of time, they unconsciously begin to expect certain storytelling events to happen. They expect the speaker to peak their curiosity, transport them to another place, and keep them wondering how the story will end (Heath & Heath, 2007).

Supplementary material

Video 3.1

Flight of the Fruit Fly. Full lecture delivered at the 71st Annual Meeting of the APS DFD. (PDF 10,186 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Itai Cohen
    • 1
  • Melanie Dreyer-Lude
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of DramaUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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