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Dec 07, 2022 Article
Perceptions of public communication on archaeology and heritage. The case of the scientists of Atapuerca (Spain)

by María Eugenia Conforti and Juan Ignacio Legaria

This paper presents an analysis of the scientists' perceptions of public communication on the scientific themes related to the archaeological sites of Atapuerca (Spain), which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Based on a qualitative/ethnographic methodology, testimonies from researchers were collected on the impact of dissemination in the field of heritage and scientific culture. Findings show a communication imprint that is inherent to the scientific and management project, in which the stakeholders perceive a great public responsibility.

Volume 21 • Issue 07 • 2022

Dec 05, 2022 Article
Politics, economy and society in the coverage of COVID-19 by elite newspapers in US, UK, China and Brazil: a text mining approach

by Luiz Felipe Fernandes Neves and Luisa Massarani

We analyzed 95,970 stories on COVID-19 published in 2020 by newspapers in US, UK, China and Brazil — countries marked by controversial management of the crisis. Through a text mining approach, we identified main topics, subjects, actors and the level of attention. The coverage was politicized in “The New York Times” and “Folha de S. Paulo”; focused on health aspects in “The Guardian”; and emphasized the economic situation in “China Daily”. In this sense, the pandemic has motivated a deeper approach to the multiple dimensions of science and health, pointing to a broader perspective of science communication.

Volume 21 • Issue 07 • 2022

Nov 30, 2022 Article
Visualizing the structure and development of climate change communication research

by Chelsea R. Canon, Douglas P. Boyle and Stephanie A. McAfee

To better understand the structure, development, and function of the climate change communication knowledge domain, we performed time-evolving bibliometric mapping and topic modeling on 2,995 climate change communication publications from Web of Science. Structural and visual representations of scholarship are useful for identifying areas of opportunity and coordinating effort in interdisciplinary and action-oriented knowledge domains. Our analysis reveals a cohesive and dense yet ossified knowledge structure which suggests that while a systems approach is being applied in climate communication, there is a need to explore more constitutive strategies for the communication of climate change.

Volume 21 • Issue 07 • 2022

Nov 21, 2022 Article
I Am a Scientist... Ask Me Anything: explicating the role of past behavioral attitudes on scientists' future public engagement intentions

by Austin Y. Hubner and Robert Bond

There is growing pressure within the scientific community for scientists to participate in public engagement of science (PES) activities. As such, science communication scholars have worked to identify factors that predict a scientist's intention to participate in PES activities. One factor that has not been explicated is the role of experience performing PES activities in the past on one's future behavioral intentions. Using an augmented theory of planned behavior, we examine how one's experience participating in a question-and-answer forum on the popular website Reddit affected scientists' willingness to participate in a future PES activity.

Volume 21 • Issue 07 • 2022

Nov 14, 2022 Article
Exploring scientists’ perceptions of citizen science for public engagement with science

by Stephanie A. Collins, Miriam Sullivan and Heather J. Bray

It is often assumed that citizen science is inherently participatory in nature. However, citizen science projects exist along a continuum from data contribution to full co-creation. We invited 19 biologists to explore their conceptions of citizen science. Almost all participants defined citizen science as involving non-scientists in data collection. This definition acted as a barrier for scientists who did not see how citizen science could suit their research objectives. While interviewees perceived many societal and experiential benefits of contributory citizen science, deliberate design is needed to realise the full potential of citizen science for public engagement.

Volume 21 • Issue 07 • 2022

Oct 31, 2022 Article
Imagining the Sun: using comparative judgement to assess the impact of cross-curricular solar physics workshops

by Carol Davenport and Richard Morton

This paper describes a school intervention focused on visual art and solar physics using science capital and STEAM methodologies to develop STEM engagement activities. Data from 40 children (aged 8–11) in two primary schools in the North East of England are presented, using pre- and post-intervention surveys which contained free-response and likert-scale questions. The paper presents a novel, and transferable, method of evaluating children’s drawings using online comparative judgement marking software, particularly suited to those without a background in qualitative research. Using comparative judgement this paper shows that the intervention led to a moderate increase in girls’ knowledge of solar physics.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 24, 2022 Article
Why create SciArt? An investigation into science artists' goals and professional journeys

by Alice Fleerackers, Paige Brown Jarreau and Julia Krolik

Although Science Art (“SciArt”) is increasingly used in science communication as a way to make content more engaging or accessible, little is known about why artists pursue this practice or what they hope to achieve through their work. This project addresses these questions through a thematic analysis of interviews with 131 practicing science artists. We identify a diversity of goals for creating SciArt, only some of which involve communicating science.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 19, 2022 Article
Telling our story: communicators’ perceptions of challenges and solutions for sustainability communication within the Australian beef industry

by Taylah Faulkner, Bradd Witt and Heather J. Bray

Sustainability communication has been an increasing focus globally for many diverse and complex resource-based industries, including beef production, due to an increase in public scrutiny. However, this has received limited research interest. This study, drawing on in-depth interviews, explores key internal and external stakeholders’ perceptions of sustainability communication challenges using the Australian beef industry as a case study. Diverse views about public perceptions, the role of communications in trust, and internal issues reflect challenges such as industry culture, isolation, and industry complexity and breadth. This research highlights and discusses a range of sustainability communication issues in complex contexts.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 12, 2022 Article
Changing attitudes toward scientists by reducing intergroup biases: how a signage intervention focused on decategorization and recategorization improved trust

by Alexandra Beauchamp, Su-Jen Roberts and Craig Piper

We experimentally examined how messaging strategies that prompted differences in how scientists are categorized as a group increased positive science attitudes among non-scientists. Results from the first study showed that messaging which personalizes science or highlights shared common identities with scientists diminishes outgroup effects through recategorization or decategorization, respectively. Study 2 largely replicated these results in an ecologically valid setting: a zoo. Collectively, these studies support the use of the recategorization strategy for improving trust and science attitudes, but produced less consistent effects for decategorization. The results emphasized the importance of contextualized messaging when creating effective appeals in science communication.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 05, 2022 Article
Strategic communication at the European Space Agency: juxtaposing strategy and public attitudes

by Axel Pfleger, Alexander Gerber and Alexander Struck

This case study analyses the efficacy of the European Space Agency's (ESA) strategic communication through a content analysis and an online attitudes survey in Germany. Our findings generally indicate low efficacy as ESA's communication strategy strongly focusses on press agentry, and is not managed in a sufficiently strategic manner. ESA pays little attention to evaluation and lays emphasis on targeting ‘the general public’. By contrast, we reveal a diversity of attitudes towards ESA among various publics. In light of this disconnect from best practice and public attitudes, we argue for a more inclusive approach which maximises public participation and introduces a more diverse and evidence-based science communication portfolio so as to make ESA's communication more efficacious and sustainable.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022