Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Research Roadmap for Public Communication of Science & Technology

In 1998, the Space Sciences Labratory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center put together a blue ribbon panel of science communicators, communication researchers, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, and scientists to look at how NASA's research was being communicated to the public. From this panel came the Research Roadmap for Public Communication of Science and Technology in the Twenty-first Century.

There were six key findings (Borchelt, 2001):

  1. There is no general audience for science communication.

  2. There is a difference between understanding and appreciation of science.

  3. Science communication should meet the needs and desires of the audience.

  4. Involving scientists and engineers in the communication process is critical.

  5. Public information officers should foster respect between scientists and the public.

  6. Media fragmentation will impact communication practices.

Over the next couple of weeks we'll explore each of these topics (which each merit multiple posts) and how we can use this information to be better science communicators and advocates. Any first thoughts?

Borchelt, R.E. (2001). Communicating the Future. Science Communication, 23, 2, 194-211. (subscription required for full text)

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