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Filter by keyword: Science communication: theory and models

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Nov 06, 2023 Practice Insight
What would aliens think of science on earth? Philosophical dialogues in the museum to help children reflect about science

by Jelle De Schrijver

Thinking about what makes science science can help people develop both an understanding of and a critical attitude towards knowledge. In this case study we explore how children participating in informal science communication activities can think about science by engaging in philosophical dialogues. The dialogue facilitator's inquisitive stance helps children develop arguments about knowledge, scientists, and science. The use of philosophical questions and a cover story involving alien scientists enthuses most children, but some find it frustrating. However, frustration acts as a motivator enhancing further reflection. Introducing this approach at science museums or science festivals challenges science communicators to question rather than to answer.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Aug 21, 2023 Essay
Response to: “Looking back to launch forward: a self-reflexive approach to decolonising science education and communication in Africa”. Decoloniality opens up new epistemic vistas for science communication

by Sujatha Raman

Decolonial perspectives open up epistemic and practical insights for science communication. Following critiques of a deficit-model framing of the field, science communication has been redefined as an inclusive cultural space of meaning-making around science. From a decolonial lens, however, a cultural perspective necessitates a fundamental reckoning with the historical and contemporary politics of knowledge claims, including the erasure and devaluation of entire knowledge-systems in the process of Westernization. In recognizing and learning from these histories, science communication can learn from parallel developments within the sciences. It can also learn from contributions made by decolonial scholars to the global challenge of navigating sustainable futures. This piece briefly discusses one such example, drawing from scholarship on the ontological cosmovision of Ubuntu and its relevance to climate change dilemmas today.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Jul 03, 2023 Conference Review
Fail better

by Sarah Rachael Davies

This short text discusses PCST2023, held in Rotterdam in April 2023, and reflects on the event's connections with science communication research and practice as a whole.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Jun 28, 2023 Editorial
Reflecting and Renewing to Strengthen JCOM

by Michelle Riedlinger and Marina Joubert

During June 2023, we met with the JCOM editorial board members to reflect on the current status of the journal and strategies for future growth. This editorial provides a snapshot of our position and plans.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

May 29, 2023 Practice Insight
Active ingredients of science communication impact: a quantitative study at a science festival

by Madelijn Strick and Stephanie Helfferich

This quantitative survey study aimed to identify “active ingredients” of a science festival in The Netherlands. Active ingredients are the elements of science communication activities that drive the impact on visitors' knowledge, attitudes, or behavior. Factor analyses of data from on-site surveys conducted in two different festival years (Total N=456) revealed three active ingredients: personal relevance, accessibility, and interactivity. Furthermore, the analyses revealed two impacts: increased knowledge/insight and increased familiarity with science. The strongest predictor of impact was personal relevance, which denotes the feeling that the festival activities touched on visitors' emotions and personal life.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

May 02, 2023 Essay
The Notorious GPT: science communication in the age of artificial intelligence

by Mike S. Schäfer

ChatGPT provides original, human-like responses to user prompts based on supervised and reinforcement machine learning techniques. It has become the poster child of generative AI, which is widely diagnosed to disrupt many realms of life — including science communication. This essay reflects on this development. It discusses opportunities for the practice of science communication, such as generative AI’s translational and multimodal capacities and its capacity to provide dialogical science communication at scale, but also challenges in terms of accuracy, ‘wrongness at scale’ or job market implications. It also ponders implications for research on science communication, which has largely neglected (generative) AI so far. It argues that scholars should analyze public communication “about” AI as well as communication “with” AI, given its ‘increased agency’. Furthermore, scholars should analyze the impact of AI on science communication itself and the larger science communication ecosystem.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Apr 24, 2023 Article
Exploring the brand of science: implications for science communication research and practice

by Todd P. Newman and Becca Beets

Research on branding seeks to uncover the emotional, sensory, and cognitive meanings when a person first encounters an object, person, or idea. This exploratory study uncovers how these meanings apply in the context of science, and why a branding framework is important for science communication theory and practice. Reporting on survey data collected in April and June 2021, our results suggest a consistent functional brand image for science, yet a more nuanced context for how different branding constructs relate to science.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 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

Dec 14, 2022 Book Review
Put to the test: science communication in crisis situations

by Lars Guenther

Risk and crisis situations can put science communication to the test, but systematic approaches to science communication in relation to crisis communication are still missing. “Science communication in times of crisis”, edited by Pascal Hohaus and published in 2022, is about this relationship. The book review provides an overview, a summary, and a short criticism of this edited volume. As will be outlined, while the book is a valuable contribution to the field, its overall aims could have been more strongly tied together.

Volume 21 • Issue 07 • 2022