Science communication: theory and models

21/01/2016

Citizen science is one of the most dramatic developments in science communication in the last generation. But analyses of citizen science, of what it means for science and especially for science communication, have just begun to appear. Articles in this first of two special issues of JCOM address three intertwined concerns in this emerging field: The motivation of citizen science participants, the relationship of citizen science with education, and the implications of participation for creation of democratic engagement in science-linked issues. Ultimately these articles contribute to answering the core question: What does citizen science mean?

29/09/2015

The drive for impact from research projects presents a dilemma for science communication researchers and practitioners — should public engagement be regarded only as a mechanism for providing evidence of the impact of research or as itself a form of impact? This editorial describes the curation of five commentaries resulting from the recent international conference
‘Science in Public: Research, Practice, Impact’. The commentaries reveal the issues science communicators may face in implementing public engagement with science that has an impact; from planning and co-producing projects with impact in mind, to organising and operating activities which meet the needs of our publics, and finally measuring and evaluating the effects on scientists and publics in order to ‘capture impact’.

09/07/2015

The standardisation and selectivity of information were characteristics of science journalism in the printed medium that the digital editions of journals have inherited. This essay explores this fact from the international perspective, with a special focus on the Spanish case.

22/09/2014

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.

22/09/2014

The urgent state of our global environment calls for collective action, which depends in large part on effective science communication for better understanding and awareness. Activities and institutions that provide opportunities to learn about nature all ultimately rely on scientific findings about nature. Although science produces the knowledge and information about nature, for the content to be accessible and meaningful to the general public, it needs to be processed by what I call science content design. This process is similar to the concepts of interpretation in tourism, or aesthetic understanding in alternative science education. This study is a theoretical exploration on the definition and nature of science content design, what constitutes its process, and how the content can be designed. Focusing on the fields of macro-biology, I also discuss the types of biological content generally used in nature-based experiences, and examine model cases of biological content design.

22/09/2014

Science communication as an interdisciplinary field of study has always been concerned with issues of knowledge utilisation. This theoretical paper focusses on the “knowledge” part of knowledge utilisation and provides a conceptual frame to distinguish between different types of knowledge in science-based practice. A practitioner’s knowledge store is portrayed as a dense set of personal knowledge, consisting of procedural knowledge, factual knowledge, potential factual knowledge and opinions/beliefs; the totality of which is continuously refined through more experiences and additional information received from people, documents or events. Implications for future studies of knowledge utilisation in science-based practices are highlighted and a number of questions posed to science communication as a profession.

02/04/2014

In this theoretical paper we explore the use of narrative as a learning tool in informal science settings. Specifically, the purpose of this paper is to explore how narrative can be applied to exhibits in the context of science centers to scaffold visitors science learning. In exploring this idea, we analyze the theoretical, structural and epistemological properties of narrative. In the pages that follow, we first discuss the advantages and possibilities for learning that science centers offer alongside challenges and limitations. Next, we discuss the role of narrative in science, as a tool for supporting science learning. We then continue with an analysis of the structural and epistemological properties of narrative and discuss how those can serve to establish narrative as a learning tool.

11/12/2013

This paper analyses the adoption of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) by Spanish journalists specialising in science. Applying an ethnographic research model, this study was based on a wide sample of professionals, aiming to evaluate the extent by which science journalists have adopted the new media and changed the way they use information sources. In addition, interviewees were asked whether in their opinion the Web 2.0 has had an impact on the quality of the news. The integration of formats certainly implies a few issues for today’s newsrooms. Finally, with the purpose of improving the practice of science information dissemination, the authors put forward a few proposals, namely: Increasing the training of Spanish science journalists in the field of new technologies; Emphasising the accuracy of the information and the validation of sources; Rethinking the mandates and the tasks of information professionals.

21/03/2013

Communicating science to scientists works well thanks to well-defined communication structures based on both printed material in peer-reviewed publications   and oral presentations, e.g.\ at conferences and seminars. However, when science is communicated to practitioners, the structures become fuzzy. We are   looking at how to implement Web2.0 technologies to Danish seed scientists communicating to seed consultants, agricultural advisors, and seed growers, and  we are met with the challenge of securing effective knowledge diffusion to the community. Our investigation's focal point is on Rogers' theoretical framework  ``Diffusion of Innovation'' (DOI), as we look at how DOI may affect the Danish seed industry if science communication is redesigned in accordance with the  framework. During our project workshop, participants recognized trends and characteristics from DOI in the Danish seed community and argued for more  collaboration between scientists and practitioners. This can be done by implementing fast-learning via online website, but it needs to be assisted by   slower-paced face-to-face learning to lessen the risk of a digital knowledge divide within the community.

28/01/2013

Various science events including Science Cafés have been held in Japan. However, there is the question whether these are events in which all people in society can participate? In particular, methods for checking whether or not the event attracts the participants targeted by the organizers have not yet been well established. In this paper, the authors have designed a simplified questionnaire to identify the participants’ attitudes toward science, technology and society, which can then be grouped into four clusters. When applied to various science cafés, the results revealed that participants consisted of Cluster 1 “Inquisitive  type” and Cluster 2 “Sciencephile” who are interested in science and technology. The cafes studied did not provide sufficient appeal to people of Clusters 3 and  4 who are not interested in science and technology without applying some inventive methods. Our method provides a means of objectivelyevaluating the tendencies of participants in science communication events in order to improve the spread of science communications within society.

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