Research and Findings
An astrophysicist, a political scientist, and a science journalist turned college dean walk into a public engagement conference, and… what comes next? Three thought leaders reflected on the conference and looked to the future, including identifying research gaps and resource needs for the future of communicating basic science.
This is a transcript of report-outs delivered during “Brainstorming for the Future.” What are the research needs and priorities to empower our SciPEP community to more effectively engage the public in basic science? Session attendees reflected on observations shared in Plenary 7, “How do we move forward from here?,” and broader conference discussions
With support from The Kavli Foundation, two teams of researchers on the science of science communication examined the scope and scale of scholarship about communication and public engagement with basic science. What they found may surprise you, making them interesting and important for anyone involved in public engagement with basic science. Find their reports below, and be sure to watch the recorded webinar, Missing in Action: Communication and Public Engagement Scholarship on Basic Science, where they present their work.
What does the U.S. public think and feel about basic science research? What do scientists and professional communicators publish about their public engagement with basic science efforts? This report explores trends in U.S. public opinion about basic science and presents the result of a large-scale investigation on what research exists on public engagement with basic science in peer-reviewed Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) journals.
Todd P. Newman, Dominique Brossard, Dietram A. Scheufele, Kaiping Chen, Yachao Qian, Ashley Cate, Lindsey Middleton, Department of Life Sciences Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The (Very Limited) Evidence Base for Basic-Science-Specific Science Communication in Key Communication Journals
There is a large and robust literature supporting public engagement with controversial science, science policy, applied medicine and health, and technology. But is there a parallel literature on scientists and the communicators who work with them regarding engagement around basic science? This report details the degree to which four key science communication journals have published research on the communication of basic or discovery science. It also describes potential paths forward for the basic science community based on these findings.
John C. Besley, Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Michigan State University; Karen Peterman and Allison Black-Maier, Karen Peterman Consulting; and Jane Robertson Evia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.