Browse all Publications

Filter by section: Article

Publications included in this section.

Apr 28, 2015 Article
Highlighting the value of evidence-based evaluation: pushing back on demands for ‘impact’

by Heather King, Kate Steiner, Marie Hobson, Amelia Robinson and Hannah Clipson

This paper discusses the value and place of evaluation amidst increasing demands for impact. We note that most informal learning institutions do not have the funds, staff or expertise to conduct impact assessments requiring, as they do, the implementation of rigorous research methodologies. However, many museums and science centres do have the experience and capacity to design and conduct site-specific evaluation protocols that result in valuable and useful insights to inform ongoing and future practice. To illustrate our argument, we discuss the evaluation findings from a museum-led teacher professional development programme, Talk Science.

Volume 14 • Issue 02 • 2015

Apr 23, 2015 Article
Explainers of science centres and museums: a study on these stakeholders in the mediation between science and the public in Brazil

by Chrystian Carlétti and Luisa Massarani

In this paper, we investigate who are the explainers who work is Brazilian science centres and museums. We used an online survey, which was answered by 370 people from 73 institutions out of a group of 200 scientific and cultural centres. Our results indicate that most of these professionals are young people between 18 and 25 years old, they hold a high school certificate or are attending university, and they have been working in this field for less than five years. Only a fifth declared that they had done professional training before starting their activities; about 60% said that they are not prepared to attend to disabled visitors. We believe that our study will improve the practice of science communication, contributing to the creation of training and professional courses.

Volume 14 • Issue 02 • 2015

Mar 31, 2015 Article
The energy question in the Belgian daily press during 2010: the role of region, newspaper type and newspaper section

by Pieter A. Maeseele, Karel Deneckere, Koen Panis and Steve Paulussen

The literature illustrates how media research on the energy question is characterized by a limited focus on separate energy options, resulting in a lack of research into the diversity of and mutual relations between various energy options. This paper reports on a quantitative content analysis of eight Belgian newspapers (N=1181), focusing on whether certain energy options are systematically more covered in certain regions, types of newspapers and/or types of newspaper sections. The results show that five energy options dominate the debate and that there are minimal differences per region, but remarkable differences between types of newspapers and newspaper sections.

Volume 14 • Issue 01 • 2015

Mar 12, 2015 Article
Changes in media selection and framing of science news in Croatian daily press

by Adrijana Šuljok

This paper tries to 1) identify the dominant media frames of science and 2) compare media selection and framing of science-related articles in Croatian daily newspapers during two politically and socioculturally different periods: the late socialism and the (post)transition. The research methodology was based on content and frame analysis which encompassed articles on science in daily press with the highest readership between 1986–1988, and 2006–2008. The main findings indicate changes in the selection of science topics as well as in the representation of individual frames. Changes reflected not only current events in the world of science but also wider social and journalistic values, as well as evaluations of the importance of specific topics.

Volume 14 • Issue 01 • 2015

Mar 03, 2015 Article
Connecting opinion, belief and value: semantic network analysis of a UK public survey on embryonic stem cell research

by Leo Kim and Namhyeok Kim

This study re-examines the survey responses of embryonic stem cell research prepared for UK Department of Health (DH) in 2006. Aided by the novel method of semantic network analysis, the main purpose of the reanalysis is to “re-present” the overlooked layer of public opinion with respect to embryonic stem cell research, and to reflect on the under-represented public opinion. This critical review attempts to shed light on potential concerns of the UK public in the face of emerging life science policy. The article argues that a new way to encourage people’s articulation and engagement in science policy should be discussed. This means more active incorporation of concepts that represent people’s opinion, belief and value in research. By applying semantic network analysis, we introduce an effective way to visualize and evaluate people’s core frame of embryonic stem cell research.

Volume 14 • Issue 01 • 2015

Dec 01, 2014 Article
When quotes matter: impact of outside quotes in a science press release on news judgment

by Paige Brown Jarreau

Scientists often cite discrepancy between scientific values and news values as a primary factor in poor quality science reporting. The goal of this study was to understand how news values including conflict and controversy affect science communicators’ evaluation of press releases containing quotes from outside expert sources. Results of an online survey experiment suggest science communicators find a climate science press release with an outside expert quote that introduces controversy to be more newsworthy. However, when a science communicator attributes relatively high importance to reliability of facts as a guiding principle in story selection, this preference for controversy is reversed.

Volume 13 • Issue 04 • 2014

Nov 17, 2014 Article
The Holy Grail of energy? A content and thematic analysis of the presentation of nuclear fusion on the Internet

by Christian Oltra, Ana Delicado, Ana Prades, Sergio Pereira and Luisa Schmidt

The Internet is increasingly considered as a legitimate source of information on scientific and technological topics. Lay individuals are increasingly using Internet sources to find information about new technological developments, but scientific communities might have a limited understanding of the nature of this content. In this paper we examine the nature of the content of information about fusion energy on the Internet. By means of a content and thematic analysis of a sample of English-, Spanish- and Portuguese-language web documents, we analyze the structural characteristics of the webs, characterize the presentation of nuclear fusion, and study the associations to nuclear fission and the main benefits and risks associated to fusion technologies in the Web. Our findings indicate that the information about fusion on the Internet is produced by a variety of actors (including private users via blogs), that almost half of the sample provided relevant technical information about nuclear fusion, that the majority of the web documents provided a positive portrayal of fusion energy (as a clean, safe and powerful energy technology), and that nuclear fusion was generally presented as a potential solution to world energy problems, as a key scientific challenge and as a superior alternative to nuclear fission. We discuss the results in terms of the role of Internet in science communication.

Volume 13 • Issue 04 • 2014

Sep 22, 2014 Article
War, anxiety, optimism and triumph: a study on science in the main Brazilian TV news

by Yuri Castelfranchi, Luisa Massarani and Marina Ramalho

We analysed the representations of science and of scientists at Jornal Nacional, the main Brazilian TV news. We carried out content and frames analysis, besides the lexical and semantic analysis of the transcriptions of the science and technology stories. Our results show a narrative that highlights the novelties and the epopee of the scientific advance, mainly in the health field. But to the emotional palette feelings of combat, anxiety and triumph were added. The face of the scientist presented by the TV news is mainly masculine, suggesting a stereotyped role of the male and female scientist: meanwhile men go out to literally explore other worlds, women take care of health and of the body.

Volume 13 • Issue 03 • 2014

Sep 22, 2014 Article
Is it my responsibility or theirs? Risk communication about antibiotic resistance in the Swedish daily press

by Gustav Bohlin and Gunnar E. Höst

Antibiotic resistance is an increasing global threat involving many actors, including the general public. We present findings from a content analysis of the coverage of antibiotic resistance in the Swedish print media with respect to the risk communication factors cause, magnitude and countermeasures. The most commonly reported cause of development and spread of resistance was unnecessary prescription of antibiotics. Risk magnitudes were mostly reported qualitatively rather than using quantitative figures. Risk-reduction measures were analyzed using a framework that distinguishes between personal and societal efficacy. Measures at the societal level were more commonly reported compared to the individual level.

Volume 13 • Issue 03 • 2014

Sep 22, 2014 Article
Slovenian social scientists’ understanding of public knowledge and participation in sustainable development: from deficit to mutual learning

by Pika Zaloznik

Public participation in decision-making has in the last decades become a common refrain in political and scientific discourse, yet it does not often truly come to fruition. The present study focuses on the underlying issue, that of the construction of the difference between scientific and public knowledge and its consequences. Through discourse analysis of scientific texts on sustainable development three distinct groups of Slovenian social scientists were discerned that differed in their views on the relationship between scientific and public knowledge and consequently the role and nature of public participation in decision-making processes. With a rise in participatory practices the preponderance of the deficit model found in this study remains problematic.

Volume 13 • Issue 03 • 2014