Browse all Publications

Filter by keyword: Science communication: theory and models

Publications including this keyword are listed below.

Jan 28, 2013 Article
Using a scientific literacy cluster to determine participant attitudes in scientific events in Japan, and potential applications to improving science communication

by Shishin Kawamoto, Minoru Nakayama and Miki Saijo

Various science events including Science Cafés have been held in Japan. However, there is the question whether these are events in which all people in society can participate? In particular, methods for checking whether or not the event attracts the participants targeted by the organizers have not yet been well established. In this paper, the authors have designed a simplified questionnaire to identify the participants’ attitudes toward science, technology and society, which can then be grouped into four clusters. When applied to various science cafés, the results revealed that participants consisted of Cluster 1 “Inquisitive  type” and Cluster 2 “Sciencephile” who are interested in science and technology. The cafes studied did not provide sufficient appeal to people of Clusters 3 and  4 who are not interested in science and technology without applying some inventive methods. Our method provides a means of objectivelyevaluating the tendencies of participants in science communication events in order to improve the spread of science communications within society.

Volume 12 • Issue 01 • 2013

Jun 21, 2012 Article
A step-by-step approach for science communication practitioners: a design perspective

by Maarten van der Sanden and Frans J. Meijman

Science communication processes are complex and uncertain. Designing and managing these processes using a step-by-step approach, allows those with science communication responsibility to manoeuvre between moral or normative issues, practical experiences, empirical data and theoretical foundations. The tool described in this study is an evidence-based questionnaire, tested in practice for feasibility. The key element of this decision aid is a challenge to the science communication practitioners to reflect on their attitudes, knowledge, reasoning and decision-making in a step-by-step manner to question the aim, function and impact of each issue and attendant communication process or strategy. This approach eventually leads to more professional science communication processes by systematic design. The Design-Based Research (DBR) derived from science education and applied in this study, may form a new methodology for further exploration of the gap between theory and practice in science communication and. Practitioners, scholars, and researchers all participate actively in DBR.

Volume 11 • Issue 02 • 2012

Dec 09, 2011 Article
Communication and learning structures that facilitate transfer of knowledge at innovation transition points

by Ronald C. Beckett and Paul Hyland

Innovation processes are rarely smooth and disruptions often occur at transition points were one knowledge domain passes the technology on to another domain. At these transition points communication is a key component in assisting the smooth hand over of technologies. However for smooth transitions to occur we argue that appropriate structures have to be in place and boundary spanning activities need to be facilitated. This paper presents three case studies of innovation processes and the findings support the view that structures and boundary spanning are essential for smooth transitions. We have explained the need to pass primary responsibility between agents to successfully bring an innovation to market. We have also shown the need to combine knowledge through effective communication so that absorptive capacity is built in process throughout the organisation rather than in one or two key individuals.

Volume 10 • Issue 04 • 2011

Oct 30, 2009 Article
Often overlooked: formative evaluation in the development of ScienceComics

by Emma Weitkamp and Helen Featherstone

Formative evaluation should play a key role in the development of a science communication project or initiative. Such research is vital to understanding the needs and interests of the audience or participants; meeting these needs and interests helps ensure the project’s success. However, there can be a temptation to plough ahead without undertaking adequate formative evaluation. Using ScienceComics ( as a case study, this article explores both the challenges and benefits of using formative evaluation to guide project development. It focuses on the actors involved in the formative stages and the impacts these actors had on the final outputs. This evidence is used to develop practical guidance on integrating formative evaluation right from the start.

Volume 8 • Issue 04 • 2009

May 18, 2009 Article
Best practice in communications training for public engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics

by Joana Silva and Karen Bultitude

Effective training in key communications skills is critical for successful public engagement. However, what are the secrets to designing and delivering an effectual training course? This paper outlines key findings from a research study into communication training programmes for public engagement with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The research focused on training in direct communication methods, (as separate from media training) and encompassed both trainers and trainees, the latter group spanning across both scientists and explainers. The findings indicated that training courses are effective at increasing involvement in science communication events and trainees feel more confident and able to engage due to training. An interactive style was found to be a key element of training courses. Demonstrations of good practice followed by own performance with feedback were also important, preferably involving a ‘real’ audience. A list of guidelines on best practice has been developed which offers practical advice.

Volume 8 • Issue 02 • 2009

Jun 20, 2008 Article
An example of a science communication evaluation study: Discovery07, a Dutch science party

by Cees M. Koolstra

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.

Volume 7 • Issue 02 • 2008

Mar 21, 2008 Commentary
Science and society: a dialogue without communicators?

by Nico Pitrelli

To give a good public speech is art; but definitely more difficult is to organize a productive exchange of points of views between scientists, experts, non-experts and policy-makers on controversial issues such as a scenario workshop or a consensus conference. Many skills and a deep knowledge both of the topic and of the methodology are required. But this is the future of science communication, a field where the dialogical model will impose new and complex formats of communication and a new sensibility, using also the most traditional media. But are science communicators prepared for that? What is the state of the art of science communicator training?

Volume 7 • Issue 01 • 2008

Mar 21, 2008 Commentary
The fronties of dialogue

by Paola Rodari

“Dialogue” is the trendy word of the moment. The word “dialogue” can be found in the call to access European funding, in the works of Science Communication scholars, in presentations of science education projects, in the mission of new science centres. “Dialogue” is also a word reported by mass media regarding politicians' and scientists' speeches on general issues as well as on local or specific problems such as environment, health, energy, etc... This new magic word is frequently repeated and opens many doors (or perhaps it simply helps to make a good impression). However, there is the risk of ignoring the real meaning and functioning of the word. JCOM is therefore asking a number of experts involved in “dialogue” the following questions: what does it really mean? What are the theoretical principles, the practical opportunities, but also the risks and limits of “dialogue”?

Volume 7 • Issue 01 • 2008

Mar 21, 2008 Commentary
Dialogue is bliss

by Giancarlo Sturloni

The practice of dialogue does not erase the conflicts that can be found upon solid diverging interests. But conflicts are not forcedly a trauma. More then an impossible abolition of diversity, it is important to promote a practice that helps everybody to express their own point of view looking for socially sustainable solution between the parts. But according to Sturloni, «Even in that case: not a dialogue meant to achieve a utopian unitary view able to level all divergences, but to allow the expression of different perspectives and of legitimate interests. The final aim should be to make a choice shared as much as possible within the legal system of a democratic country».

Volume 7 • Issue 01 • 2008

Mar 21, 2008 Commentary
Dialogue in education

by Lynn Uyen Tran

What is the meaning of “dialogue” in education? Why is dialogue important in learning processes? Tran proposes a short review of the literature, starting with Vygotsky and ending with a new field of research in informal learning - conversations among the public visiting museums as a collaborative environment for learning.

Volume 7 • Issue 01 • 2008