Science communication: theory and models

16/08/2022

This qualitative study explores perspectives of U.S.A.-based science communication researchers and practitioners who attended a symposium focused on advancing inclusive science communication (ISC). ISC is a growing global movement that aims to center equity, inclusion, and marginalized perspectives in science communication. Findings underscore the complexity of systemic barriers to ISC, the critical need for resource sharing and network building, and the importance of evaluation frameworks. The authors also highlight critical dialogue as a strategic tool that might help support intentional, reciprocal, and reflexive practices in science communication.

01/08/2022

Protest placards are an important part of School Strike 4 Climate (SS4C) protest culture and illustrate how protesters view, understand and share their environmental concerns. Many of the placards use humor to convey the messages of their creators. Bringing together science communication and humor studies, this paper examines the communicative functions of humor in Australian SS4C posters by asking to what extent protest signs can be understood as a vehicle of science communication. The paper reveals how humorous protest placards become the means of grassroots creativity, exploring bottom-up science communication in an ambiguous, but accessible and enjoyable form.

18/07/2022

At last, a compilation of essays that provide fascinating insights into Health Communication and Disease in Africa. Falade and Murire (eds.) have produced a volume which needed to be written and will delight those with an interest in health and science communication, public health, social and behaviour change, and theoretical approaches to health communication. Broad themes cover stigma, beliefs and traditions, and rethinking approaches to health communication. A key element is the effort to bridge ‘classical’ approaches to health communication and behaviour change with indigenous knowledge systems of people in Africa.

10/06/2022

The practice of science communication is fundamentally changing. This requires science communication practitioners to continuously adapt their practice to an ever-changing ecosystem and highlights the importance of reflective practice for science communication. In this study, we supported 21 science communication practitioners in developing a reflective practice. Our study shows that reflective practice enabled practitioners in becoming aware of their own stance towards science or assumptions regarding audiences (single-loop learning), underlying and sometimes conflicting values or worldviews present in science communication situations (double-loop learning), and facilitated practitioners to adapt their practice accordingly. Triple-loop learning, allowing practitioners to fundamentally rethink and transform their mode of science communication, was less observed. We argue that reflective practice contributes to opening-up public conversations on science — including a conversation on underlying values, worldviews, and emotions, next to communicating scientific facts.

10/06/2022

The workforces of the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) industries suffer from skills gaps and lack diversity. Science engagement activities often try to solve these problems through targeting audiences under-represented in the STEM workforces. There is limited data, however, to suggest that these engagement efforts are successful in translating into more diverse workforces. We draw upon Unicef’s ‘Sport for Development’ model and propose a new conceptual framework: ‘Science Engagement for Good’. This frames science engagement activities around the benefits to individuals, families and communities, rather than the benefits to STEM industries, the economy or society at large.

10/06/2022

Citizen Science (CS) can help change the paradigm of science communication. To test this, 38 ongoing CS projects from Italy, Portugal and Spain have been selected by the H2020 NEWSERA project to act as pilots in the development of communication strategies, specifically targeting stakeholders in the quadruple helix. The projects, together with stakeholder representatives and science communication and journalism professionals participated in a series of workshops — #CitSciComm Labs — where communication strategies were co-designed, using adapted design-thinking methods. The innovative methodological approach is hereby presented and can be an inspiration for others willing to implement improved communication strategies to target different stakeholders.

10/06/2022

The EU-funded RETHINK Project has demonstrated the critical need for transformational pathways in how science communicators navigate the increasingly challenging landscape of the field, in an era of growing public distrust, the expansion of online ‘mis-information’ digital platforms, and the resulting disconnection between science communicators and the general public. This Commentary seeks to locate, contextualise, and interrogate the good practice outcomes and recommendations of the RETHINK Project within the African regional scenario, and within the contexts, challenges and opportunities that exist therein. To achieve this, the author argues, African science communicators must actively pursue a radical and explicitly transformational agenda of intellectual Afrocentricity, the decolonisation of their practices and programmes, and address the multiple gaps inherent across the policy, practice, research, resources, and capacity-building divides on the continent. The prospects for the delivery of this agenda are further elaborated in a transformative and re-defined — ‘SMART’ Framework for Science Communication & Public Engagement in Africa.

10/06/2022

The invitation to ReThink science engagement is irresistible and timely. And that rethinking will be informed by the location in which its done. While ‘speaking for’ wide swaths of the world, in this case, Australia and its region, would be meaningless and probably not terribly useful, the call to ReThink science engagement with this place in mind is encouraging and welcome. The following commentary, then, will focus on what rethinking science engagement might look like from Australia with the guiding frame of “responsible science communication” at hand and some of the core concepts of ReThink at the fore — reflection, co-creation, and openness in science engagement. To add a counterpoint to the ReThink projects core concepts, I briefly suggest some further concepts to ‘trouble’ easy interpretations of approaches to science communication — reflexivity, co-production, and science communication for the public good. Taken together, all of these concepts provide a useful frame for some of the major issues and opportunities for science communication in our region but also highlight the tensions in current approaches to science engagement. These tensions are worth struggling over and unpacking in relation to global differences and aims for science engagement.

10/06/2022

Practitioners of responsible science communication in Latin American countries face context-dependent challenges ranging from high poverty and inequality to a public from an extremely varied palette of cultural backgrounds. Effort has been done in the region to foster a coherent community of science communicators. This article reflects on the history of science communication in Latin America and how these challenges are being faced.

10/06/2022

There are many different pathways into science communication practice and research. But rarely do these pathways require critical reflection on what it means to be a ‘responsible’ science communicator or researcher. The need for this kind of critical reflection is increasingly salient in a world marked by the wilful disregard of evidence in many high-profile contexts, including politics and, most recently, public health. Responsible science communicators and researchers are audience- and impact-focused, beginning their decision-making process by considering their audiences’ starting positions, needs and values. This article outlines some key considerations for developing socially responsibility for science communication as a field both in terms of practice and research.

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