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Sep 17, 2018 Article
Digging deeper? Muddling through? How environmental activists make sense and use of science — an exploratory study

by Birte Faehnrich

This paper focusses on the sense making and use of science by environmental activists. It is based on the assumption that activists — without being scientists or professional science communicators — take up a central role in the environmental discourse concerning the translation of scientific findings and their public dissemination. It is thus asked how environmental activists evaluate the relevance of science for their work, which structures and processes they apply to make sense of science, and how they use science related information to make their voices heard. This paper presents data from a study on Canadian activists regarding their use of scientific information in the field of forest protection. The data, interpreted in the context of a situational analysis, helps to enhance understanding of environmental activists' information systems but also show the strategic use of scientific information by these alternative science communicators.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Sep 10, 2018 Article
Structure and development of science communication research: co-citation analysis of a developing field

by Adrian Rauchfleisch and Mike S. Schäfer

Since the early 1990s, there has been a considerable increase in the number of scientific studies on science communication, and this increase has been accompanied by a diversification of the research field. This study focuses on one aspect of this development: it analyses how citation network structures within the field have developed over time, and whether science communication research shows signs of becoming a research field or a discipline in its own right. Employing a co-citation analysis of scholarly publications published between 1996 and 2015, it assesses to what extent a coherent communication network exists within science communication research. The results show a field with a diverse internal structure and clear internal changes over time which suggest an increasing emancipation of the field.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Aug 06, 2018 Article
Science created by crowds: a case study of science crowdfunding in Japan

by Yuko Ikkatai, Euan McKay and Hiromi M. Yokoyama

“Science crowdfunding” is a research funding system in which members of the public make small financial contributions towards a research project via the Internet. We compared the more common research process involving public research funding with science crowdfunding. In the former, academic-peer communities review the research carried out whereas the Crowd Community, an aggregation of backers, carries out this function in the latter. In this paper, we propose that science crowdfunding can be successfully used to generate “crowd-supported science” by means of this Crowd Community.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Jul 30, 2018 Article
A no-conflict approach to informal science education increases community science literacy and engagement

by Emily Schoerning

The National Center for Science Education’s Science Booster Club
Program piloted a no-conflict approach to free, informal science activities
focused on climate change or evolution, holding 64 community events at
two sites over the course of 15 months, engaging with more than 70,000
participants. In the participating communities science literacy increased
over time as did community engagement as measured by local financial
support, requests for programming, and event attendance.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Jul 24, 2018 Article
Promised future and possible future: science communication and technology at World's Fairs and theme parks

by Susana Herrera-Lima and Daniela Martin

World’s Fairs and scientific-technological theme parks have been
propitious places for the communication of science and technology through
modernity. This work addresses the issue of the construction of public
discourse about the future within these sites, as well as the changing role
attributed to science and technology as mediators in the relationships
between nature and society. In both fairs and parks, science and
technology play a leading role in the construction of the discourse about
the desirable and achievable future. The practices of science
communication and technology have specific forms, strategies and
objectives, depending on the purposes of the discourse enunciators at
different historical moments. This is exemplified through two cases: the
1939 New York World’s Fair and the EPCOT center in the U.S.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Jul 16, 2018 Article
Communicating with Coastal Decision-Makers and Environmental Educators via Sea Level Rise Decision-Support Tools

by Denise DeLorme, Sonia Stephens, Scott Hagen and Matthew Bilskie

Communicating about environmental risks requires understanding and
addressing stakeholder needs, perspectives, and anticipated uses for
communication products and decision-support tools. This paper
demonstrates how long-term dialogue between scientists and stakeholders
can be facilitated by repeated stakeholder focus groups. We describe a
dialogic process for developing science-based decision-support tools as
part of a larger sea level rise research project in the Gulf of Mexico. We
demonstrate how focus groups can be used effectively in tool development,
discuss how stakeholders plan to use tools for decision-making and
broader public outreach, and describe features that stakeholders perceive
would make products more usable.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Jul 09, 2018 Article
The story is that there is no story: media framing of synthetic biology and its ethical implications in the New York Times (2005–2015)

by Sara Giordano and Yi-Lin Chung

Despite low public knowledge of synthetic biology, it is the focus of prominent government and academic ethics debates. We examine the “NY Times” media coverage of synthetic biology. Our results suggest that the story about synthetic biology remains ambiguous. We found this in four areas — 1) on the question of whether the field raises ethical concerns, 2) on its relationship to genetic engineering, 3) on whether or not it threatens ‘nature’, and 4) on the temporality of these concerns. We suggest that this ambiguity creates conditions in which there becomes no reason for the public at large to become involved.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Jul 02, 2018 Article
What do people know about climate change ― and how confident are they? On measurements and analyses of science related knowledge

by Monika Taddicken, Anne Reif and Imke Hoppe

The measurement and analysis of people's knowledge on scientific topics, such as climate change, is challenging for researchers. One reason is that objectives are multi-dimensional and that probability is inherent. Moreover, uncertainties can exist on the individual's level among the public, but are rarely grasped by existing scales. Therefore, researchers must thoroughly consider what to measure and how. This paper theorizes five different dimensions of climate change knowledge. Three response scales including different degrees of confidence are applied on data from a German online survey (n=935); empirical results of multivariate regression analyses on attitudes are compared. Results highlight the importance of distinctively measuring dimensions and types of knowledge.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Jun 25, 2018 Article
Public engagement in science via Web 2.0 technologies. Evaluation criteria validated using the Delphi Method

by Lourdes Lopez and María Dolores Olvera-Lobo

The characteristics of interaction and dialogue implicit in the Web 2.0 have given rise to a new scenario in the relationship between science and society. The aim of this paper is the development of an evaluation tool scientifically validated by the Delphi method that permits the study of Internet usage and its effectiveness for encouraging public engagement in the scientific process. Thirty four indicators have been identified, structured into 6 interrelated criteria conceived for compiling data that help to explain the role of the Internet in favouring public engagement in science.

Volume 17 • Issue 02 • 2018

Jun 20, 2018 Article
An inconvenient source? Attributes of science documentaries and their effects on information-related behavioral intentions

by Sara K. Yeo, Andrew R. Binder, Michael F. Dahlstrom and Dominique Brossard

We investigate the impact of a science documentary on individuals' intention to engage in information-related behaviors by experimentally testing the effects of source type (scientist, politician, or anonymous source) and communication setting (interview or lecture) using a manipulated clip from the documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Our results indicate that, compared to anonymous sources, use of authoritative ones result in greater intention to engage in some information-related behaviors. Additionally, our results suggest that increased intentions to engage in exchanging information can be attributed to negative affect induced by the clip featuring a politician. Implications for documentary films and science communication are discussed.

Volume 17 • Issue 02 • 2018