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Aug 26, 2019 Article
Using humor to engage the public on climate change: the effect of exposure to one-sided vs. two-sided satire on message discounting, elaboration and counterarguing

by Amy Becker and Ashley A. Anderson

The research explores the differential impact of exposure to one-sided vs. two-sided satire about climate change on message processing. Analyzing experimental data (N =141) we find that one-sided satire offered by ‘The Onion’ ironically claiming that global warming is a hoax encourages viewers to engage in greater message elaboration and counterarguing. In contrast, two-sided satire offered by ‘The Weather Channel’ that makes jokes about those who believe in vs. reject human involvement in climate change is quickly discounted. We conclude by discussing the strategic value of incorporating one-sided satirical humor in communication efforts focused on climate change engagement.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Aug 19, 2019 Article
Young, sceptical, and environmentally (dis)engaged: do news habits make a difference?

by Yuliya Lakew and Ulrika Olausson

Research shows that news consumption plays a positive role in youths' environmental engagement. This article examines if this also holds true for sceptics by comparing Swedish climate change sceptics with non-sceptical youngsters in their early and late adolescence. We conceptualise news consumption as foci of public connection and orientation rather than a source of environmental information. The results show that in their early teens, heavy news consumers among both sceptics and non-sceptics are indeed more engaged with environmental issues than their less news-oriented peers. However, in late adolescence, sceptics among news consumers show very little environmental engagement.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Jul 29, 2019 Article
Avoiding post-truth environmental conflict in New Zealand: communicating uncertainties in endangered species science

by Anna Palliser and Giles Dodson

Keyes [2004, p. 15] says: “In the post-truth era we don't just have truth or lies but a third category of ambiguous statements that are not exactly the truth but fall short of a lie”. In this paper about Hector's and Maui dolphin management in New Zealand, we argue that some scientific knowledge about these species presented and disseminated in ways that equate to this third category and as such may be classed as ‘post-truth type communication’. This generates citizen mistrust in science, scientists and government agencies and inflames conflict among informed stakeholders. We argue trust may be rebuilt by a combination of deliberative approaches to environmental governance, transparency about uncertainties, information gaps and divergent scientific opinions, and reformulation of normal scientific approaches and assumptions to those advocated by post-normal science.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Jul 22, 2019 Article
Developing science tabletop games: ‘Catan’® and global warming

by Sam Illingworth and Paul Wake

‘Catan’® (1995) is a multiplayer tabletop game with global sales of over 20 million copies. Presented here is an exploration of the steps that were taken in the development of the ‘Catan: Global Warming’ expansion, from prototype to final design. During the playtesting of the game the feedback that we received from a variety of playtesters indicated that the game mechanics (rather than any accompanying story) were an effective and elegant way of developing dialogue around a specific topic, in this instance global warming. We conclude that in order to develop such a game, consideration must be given to: the accessibility of the game, the game literacy of the proposed players, the playtesting of the game mechanics, the peer review of the scientific content, and the extent to which the metagame (i.e. those discussions that take place around and away from the game) is enabled.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Jul 15, 2019 Article
Observing and drawing the Sun: research-based insights to assess science communication practices aimed at children

by Sara Anjos, Alexandre Aibeo and Anabela Carvalho

Knowing how specific publics understand and experience science is crucial for both researchers and practitioners. As learning and meaning-making develop over time, depending on a combination of factors, creative possibilities to analyze those processes are needed to improve evaluation of science communication practices. We examine how first grade children's drawings expressed their perceptions of the Sun and explore their views of a major astronomical body within their social, cultural and personal worlds. We then examine how the observation of the Sun through a telescope led to changes in graphical representations, and how learning and meaning evolved after several months.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Jul 08, 2019 Article
Climate change skeptics teach climate literacy? A critical discourse analysis of children's books

by Nicole Colston and Julie Thomas

This critical discourse analysis examined climate change denial books intended for children and parents as examples of pseudo-educational materials reproduced within the conservative echo chamber in the United States. Guided by previous excavations in climate change denial discourses, we identified different types of skepticism, policy frames, contested scientific knowledge, and uncertainty appeals. Findings identify the ways these children's books introduced a logic of non-problematicity about environmental problems bolstered by contradictory forms of climate change skepticism and polarizing social-conflict frames. These results pose pedagogical dilemmas for educators, environmental advocates, and communication experts interested in advancing understanding and action in the face of rapid climate change.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Jul 01, 2019 Article
Touching the stars: improving NASA 3D printed data sets with blind and visually impaired audiences

by Kimberly Arcand, April Jubett, Megan Watzke, Sara Price, Kelly Williamson and Peter Edmonds

Astronomy has been an inherently visual area of science for millenia, yet a majority of its significant discoveries take place in wavelengths beyond human vision. There are many people, including those with low or no vision, who cannot participate fully in such discoveries if visual media is the primary communication mechanism. Numerous efforts have worked to address equity of accessibility to such knowledge sharing, such as through the creation of three-dimensional (3D) printed data sets. This paper describes progress made through technological and programmatic developments in tactile 3D models using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to improve access to data.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Jun 14, 2019 Article
Foundations as organisational science policy interfaces? An analysis of the references to foundations made during parliamentary debates in the German federal parliament

by Franziska Oehmer and Otfried Jarren

Complex political decisions increasingly require scientific knowledge and expertise. But the exchange between actors from the political and the scientific systems is confronted by challenges. Science policy interfaces are needed in order to overcome the barriers to communication. This article analyses and discusses the importance of foundations as science policy interfaces. To this end, we will first present the salient features and functions of foundations as organisations in the framework of theoretical considerations and discuss their fundamental suitability as mediators of scientific knowledge in the political process. We will then identify the significance of foundations as science policy interfaces using a quantitative content analysis of references to foundations in the debates of the 18th German Bundestag.

Volume 18 • Issue 03 • 2019 • Special Issue: Communication at the Intersection of Science and Politics, 2019

Jun 14, 2019 Article
Science and technology for the people? On the framing of innovation in policy discourses in India and in EU

by Anwesha Chakraborty and Rita Giuffredi

In 2010 both India and Europe launched new strategies focused on innovation, for economic growth and for addressing societal challenges: the Decade of Innovation from the Indian Government and the Innovation Union from the European Union. This piqued our interest in investigating how these two political entities have envisioned the concept of innovation, particularly in studying and comparing how they have focused on people, both as final beneficiaries (and thus principal legitimisers) of policy actions, and as actors themselves in the innovation process. Per contra we found, in institutional documents, very different descriptions of how to adequately realise citizens' involvement, spanning from the abiding reference to people's inclusion in the Indian case to the varied discourses on public engagement in EU, down to the passive role accorded to citizens in some Expert Groups reports. The comparison between the understandings of innovation (and innovators) in the two contexts can enlarge and refine the argumentative and metaphoric repertoire of science communicators. Further, it can form the basis of a mature and shared debate on the role that knowledge production and innovation policies can and should play in the public governance of science and technology.

Volume 18 • Issue 03 • 2019 • Special Issue: Communication at the Intersection of Science and Politics, 2019

Jun 14, 2019 Article
The possibilities of Open Science for knowledge transfer in the science-policy interface

by Arko Olesk, Esta Kaal and Kristel Toom

This paper explores the possible role of Open Science in the knowledge transfer between research and policy, focusing on its potential use by scientific councillors at Estonian ministries. Qualitative interviews with scientific councillors show that they perceive their role as intermediaries between research and policy and focus their work on improving the quality of research commissioned by their ministry. This process, for them, involves using existing academic articles and datasets to which, however, they lack official access. We show that Open Science can contribute to knowledge transfer if there are knowledge brokers in public sector organizations.

Volume 18 • Issue 03 • 2019 • Special Issue: Communication at the Intersection of Science and Politics, 2019