All author's publications are listed below.
Public opinions toward emergent technologies may be highly dependent on the manner in which people are introduced to these technologies for the very first time. In this light, understanding how such first introductions are related to adolescents’ information seeking behaviors and their developing opinions may be particularly interesting because this target public can be considered to be not only future users of the technology but also future decision makers of its development. The present paper presents a case study of the introduction of ecogenomics among 246 adolescents who were asked to inform themselves about this technology and to write two essays: one that would reflect their personal opinions, and another that would reflect their advice to the Dutch government about further funding of ecogenomics research. Results showed that the Internet was by far their preferred source of information and that most adolescents held positive attitudes toward ecogenomics as expressed in essays that reflected their personal opinions and advice to others. In their perspective, ecogenomics was a positive development in science because of expected benefits concerning medical and environmental applications, such as the potential discovery of new antibiotics and the possible use in bioremediation.
This article presents an example of how a public science party was evaluated. The main goals of the science party, to increase the positive image of science and present an attractive science event, were evaluated in two ways. First, web surveys were used to determine the image of science before and after the event among paying visitors, invited guests, and a control group (N = 149). Second, during the event, visitors were interviewed about their experiences at the event (N = 124). The survey study showed that the image of science was very positive among all three groups of respondents. As no differences were found between pre- and post-tests, participation in the event did not lead to a more positive image of science. The results of the interviews suggested that visitors highly appreciated the event. In the Discussion, the evaluation study is analyzed and possibilities/limitations for future general use are discussed.
Science information professionals need to make choices through which media they want to communicate with the public. In reaching large audiences outside the domain of formal diffusion of knowledge, the choice may be between the old medium television and the new medium Internet. It seems that general scientific research is focused more and more on the Internet as a favorite means for information exchange and that the old mass medium television plays only a minor role. But when we look at (1) how the public spends their leisure time on television and the Internet, (2) how effective these media are in transferring information, and (3) how much these media are trusted as reliable sources of information, the old medium television should still be regarded as the number one medium to be used for science communication, although there are some limitations for its use.