Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020


Jul 08, 2020 Article
Expertise and communicating about infectious disease: a case study of uncertainty and rejection of local knowledge in discourse of experts and decision makers

by Jennifer Manyweathers, Mel Taylor and Nancy Longnecker

Despite Australian horse owners being encouraged to vaccinate their horses against Hendra virus to reduce the risk of this potentially fatal virus to horses and humans, vaccine uptake has been slow. Discourse around the vaccine has been characterised by polarisation and dissenting voices. In this study we interviewed horse owners (N=15) and veterinarians (N=10), revealing how expert knowledge, disqualification of lay knowledge and inadequate handling of uncertainty impacted divisive discourse around Hendra virus. We assert that more inclusive, reflective and ultimately more effective risk communication practices will result if the legitimacy of diverse knowledge sources and the inevitability of uncertainty are acknowledged.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Aug 17, 2020 Article
Listen to the audience(s)! Expectations and characteristics of expert debate attendants

by Nina Wicke and Monika Taddicken

Expert debates have become a popular form to inform the public about scientific issues. To deepen our knowledge about individuals who attend such formats and to investigate what they expect of the dissemination of science, this study analyzes the attendants of scientific expert debates and their expectations. Cluster analysis is applied to survey data (n=358) to explore whether distinct segments may be distinguishable within this supposedly homogeneous audience. Four different segments were identified and, overall, the findings indicate that attendants expect science communication to not only present scientific findings comprehensibly and from different perspectives, but also to create everyday life applicability, whereas interacting with scientists is of less interest.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Sep 07, 2020 Article
Operationalizing science literacy: an experimental analysis of measurement

by Meaghan McKasy, Michael Cacciatore, Leona Yi-Fan Su, Sara K. Yeo and Liane Oneill

Inequalities in scientific knowledge are the subject of increasing attention, so how factual science knowledge is measured, and any inconsistencies in said measurement, is extremely relevant to the field of science communication. Different operationalizations of factual science knowledge are used interchangeably in research, potentially resulting in artificially comparable knowledge levels among respondents. Here, we present data from an experiment embedded in an online survey conducted in the United States (N = 1,530) that examined the distribution of factual science knowledge responses on a 3- vs. 5-point response scale. Though the scale did not impact a summative knowledge index, significant differences emerged when knowledge items were analyzed individually or grouped based on whether the correct response was “true” or “false.” Our findings emphasize the necessity for communicators to consider the goals of knowledge assessment when making operationalization decisions.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Sep 21, 2020 Article
Addressing diversity in science communication through citizen social science

by Lissette Lorenz

This article seeks to address the lack of sociocultural diversity in the field of science communication by broadening conceptions of citizen science to include citizen social science. Developing citizen social science as a concept and set of practices can increase the diversity of publics who engage in science communication endeavors if citizen social science explicitly aims at addressing social justice issues. First, I situate citizen social science within the histories of citizen science and participatory action research to demonstrate how the three approaches are compatible. Next, I outline the tenets of citizen social science as they are informed by citizen science and participatory action research goals. I then use these tenets as criteria to evaluate the extent to which my case study, a community-based research project called ‘Rustbelt Theater’, counts as a citizen social science project.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Review Articles

Jul 20, 2020 Review Article
Citizen Science, K-12 science education and use of technology: a synthesis of empirical research

by Olia Tsivitanidou and Andri Ioannou

In this review, we examined the types of CS projects found in K-12 science education facilitated by digital technologies, the learning outcomes from students' participation in these projects, and the type of digital technologies used. With the application of the study's selection criteria, 15 eligible publications were included in the review; these were indexed in three databases as well as in Google Scholar. Despite the rising popularity of CS projects, the present review revealed that there is little empirical evidence for the effects of technology-facilitated CS projects on learning outcomes when K-12 students are involved. Yet, the review demonstrates a promising research area in science education and technology-enhanced learning.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Practice Insights

Aug 03, 2020 Practice Insight
Free Bright Conversations — meaningful participatory activities for the communication of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

by Manuel Ballatore and Marie Bartsch

Political, economic and social actors have begun to implement the 17 SDGs (UN 2030 Agenda) to build a desirable future for everyone. To reach this goal, a mix of systemic alteration and individual change is needed. “Free Bright Conversations” is a dialogue-based science communication event developed at MUSE-Science Museum in Trento that focuses on people's engagement with sustainable development. The paper describes the format and provides an evaluation based on preliminary data collected on two occasions. The authors conclude that participatory science communication furthers involvement with our common, sustainable future.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020


Sep 01, 2020 Commentary
Science Communication as a design challenge in transdisciplinary collaborations

by Éva Kalmár and Hanneke Stenfert

In this series of comments, we argue for Science Communication as an enabler of transdisciplinary, integrative collaboration in the context of today’s complex, multi-stakeholder issues. Participatory design, as a collaborative method, is effective in achieving mutual learning, shared understandings, integrating disciplines and creating solutions that make sense in the multi-layered reality of today’s challenges. Science Communication, therefore, is communication design in transdisciplinary collaborations.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Conference Reviews

Jul 20, 2020 Conference Review
Engaging migrant and refugee communities in non-formal science learning spaces

by Autumn Brown, Joseph Roche and Mairéad Hurley

In this era of pandemics, economic crises and civil unrest, science centres and museums have an opportunity to become truly relevant resources to society. This paper summarises a number of critical lessons from the PISEA International Symposium, a conference held the at the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art in Vienna from the 17th–18th of October 2019. The purpose of this event was to share, learn, and discuss ways in which engagement with migrants and refugee populations might be improved within informal science learning spaces. Issues around integration, inclusive art-science practice, and shifting institutional policy and language were all explored. This paper also calls for the committed reform of informal science spaces, and a renewed commitment to responsive, equitable, and inclusive practice.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

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