Mar 27, 2023 Essay
Factors affecting the efficacy of short stories as science communication tools

by Masoud Irani and Emma Weitkamp

People become familiar with stories as sources of information in their childhood, and, while they have recently received interest as potential science communication tools, few studies have considered aspects of story quality on science communication. We postulate that quality is an important, if challenging, facet that should be considered when exploring the potential of short stories in science communication. This essay argues that quality should be a key consideration of those interested in studying or working with short stories for science communication purposes and presents criteria for the `well-made' short story.

Volume 22 • Issue 2 • 2023

Mar 20, 2023 Article
Citizen science and participatory science communication: an empirically informed discussion connecting research and theory

by Paolo Giardullo, Federico Neresini, Esther Marín-González, Cristina Luís, Joana Magalhães and Rosa Arias

Citizen Science is believed to contribute significantly to the democratisation of science, engaging non-scientists in scientific research. Participatory approaches to science communication share the same interest through public participation and public engagement. In the attempt to connect these two debates both theoretically and empirically, we provide an analysis of the communication tools and strategies used by 157 Citizen Science projects across the EU, UK, and Switzerland. Our analysis reports that the CS projects surveyed tend to interpret communication as a disseminating activity, rather than as a tool to promote appropriate communication-based encounters with both project participants and other potential target audiences.

Volume 22 • Issue 2 • 2023

Mar 13, 2023 Article
Fictional scenarios, real concerns: science fiction and perceptions of human genome editing

by April A. Eichmeier, Luye Bao, Michael A. Xenos, Dominique Brossard and Dietram A. Scheufele

This research addresses the association between attention to science fiction and public opinion of human genome editing (HGE). Using a nationally representative survey, our results show that attention to science fiction is associated with both risk and benefit perception of the technology. In addition, results show that, at higher levels of attention to science fiction, the levels of concern from conservatives (ordinarily predisposed to negative views toward science) and from liberals (ordinarily predisposed to positive views toward science) come closer to being the same. This research contributes to our understanding of debates about controversial science.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Mar 06, 2023 Practice Insight
Contemporary multimedia applications in the cultural communication discourse of the museum

by Ádám Kuttner and Andrea Kárpáti

AR/VR applications are gaining prominence in exhibition communication. In this field research project, we developed an assessment model to identify major AV/VR application types and their functions. We then used this model to describe 32 contemporary multimedia exhibition applications in 12 countries. During our visits to the exhibitions, we assumed the perspective of the non-specialist visitor to better identify communicative effects of AR/VR applications and compare them with traditional guides developed for similar exhibitions. Our results show that these innovative sources of information may significantly contribute to visitor enjoyment as well as knowledge gain and retention.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Feb 27, 2023 Book Review
A Challenge for Media and Communication Studies: the Covid-19 Pandemic

by Rod Lamberts

Katarzyna Kopecka-Piech and Bartłomiej Łódzki’s edited volume, The Covid-19 Pandemic as a Challenge for Media and Communication Studies, could be of great utility to science communication scholars and teachers. The studies with contained within it address two overarching research questions. First, how have media and communication reality changed during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe? Second, how were media and communication studied effectively through that period? The volume features 17 individual studies calling on myriad methods and case examples. This diversity of approaches allows the editors to also address an important, implicit third question. In essence: what has it been like to conduct worthwhile, meaningful, and robust research under such unusual and extreme global circumstances? Each chapter is thorough, detailed and of a high technical standard. This is a book that would likely best serve experienced readers more than novices. The entire compendium bears clear witness to the dynamic nature of social research playing out against a context of enormous global instability.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Feb 20, 2023 Article
“There really is a lot of shared understanding, but there are also differences”: identity configurations in science communicators' professional identity

by Liliann Fischer and Hannah Schmid-Petri

Science communication is a relatively new field of practice, shaped by a diverse group of professional science communicators and the way they make sense of their work. A distinguishing feature of these professional science communicators is the organisational context they work in. Based on a typology from an organisational theory framework, this study explores the perspectives of 15 German science communicators through qualitative interviews. It seems that while they tend to draw on a common set of building blocks, they use them to construct individual professional identity configurations partly influenced by their organisational context.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Feb 13, 2023 Book Review
Science & theatre: communication, concepts, contexts, and cases

by Kristian H. Nielsen

With its attention to empirical detail and theoretical analysis, the book is an important contribution to the field of science-and-theatre studies. The reader will not only gain insight into the many ways in which science and theatre have been combined, but also become familiar with best practices and interesting cases. The book depicts science-and-theatre as a diverse and vibrant field. Framed as a study in communicating science and technology with the performing arts, the book will serve as a source of inspiration for science communicators and science communication researchers.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Feb 08, 2023 Article
Spokespersons for science: examining social media influencers' popularization of controversial technologies on YouTube

by Jiemin Looi and Shirley S. Ho

An online experiment involving 251 Singaporeans assessed how social media influencers' (SMIs) prototypicality (i.e., embodiment of group attitudes) and social attraction affected their popularization of nuclear energy development. Participants exposed to a SMI with high prototypicality perceived the YouTube video more favorably, displayed greater intention to share the YouTube video, and possessed greater attitude intensity toward nuclear energy development. Participants displayed greater intention to share the YouTube video when the SMI had high social attraction and possessed moderate to high prototypicality. Conversely, participants displayed less intention to share the YouTube video when the SMI had low social attraction and prototypicality.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Jan 30, 2023 Book Review
Handy guide and passionate call to engage

by Cissi Askwall

Andrew J. Hoffman, Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, has written “The Engaged Scholar — Expanding the Impact of Academic Research in Today's World” (2021 Stanford University Press). According to the author, most researchers want to make a difference, but academic institutions often do not value public engagement, leading to disengaged scientists. Hoffman gives and reexamines arguments for why scholars should engage with other parts of society. He conveys several tips on how to do it and encourages researchers to take part in public debate. The limitations of the current evaluation system are also scrutinized, and new measures of impact discussed. The book is worth reading for academic leaders and researchers, as well as science communicators and science journalists.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Jan 25, 2023 Article
Science knowledge and trust in science in biodiversity citizen science projects

by Baptiste Bedessem, Anne Dozières, Anne-Caroline Prévot and Romain Julliard

Citizen science projects are valued for their impact on participants' knowledge, attitude and behavior towards science. In this paper, we explore how participation in biodiversity citizen science projects is correlated to different dimensions of trust in science. We conduct a quantitative study through an online survey of 1,199 individuals, 586 of them being part of a biodiversity citizen science program in France. Our results suggest that participation-related trust is more exhaustive — it covers more dimensions of the scientific endeavor — than education-related trust. This exploratory study calls for more empirical research on the links between citizen science and the different dimensions of public trust in science.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

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