audiences

‘I don’t get this climate stuff !’ Making sense of climate change among the corporate middle class in Lagos

Adeniyi P. Asiyanbi

Public engagement continues to be central to wider efforts to address climate change. This study contributes to public engagement debates by investigating engagement with climate change among an often overlooked group, the corporate middle class in Africa’s second largest megacity, Lagos. Combining survey and interviews, I focus analysis on three aspects: awareness, knowledge and concern; role of scientific and social frames in shaping general attitude; and spatial attribution of causes and consequences. The study reveals a universal awareness and high concern about climate change among the respondents, although understanding and perceptions of climate change are significantly socially framed. Social situatedness, more than scientific facts, is the most important definer of overall engagement with climate change. This study thus underscores a nuanced constructionist stance, showing how corporate professionals’ ‘ways of knowing’ climate change is underpinned by a certain co-production between scientific and socio-experiential frames. I highlight implications for research and public engagement with climate change.

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Improving Visual Communication of Science Through the Incorporation of Graphic Design Theories and Practices Into Science Communication

Fabiola Cristina Rodríguez Estrada, Lloyd Spencer Davis

Visual culture is becoming an increasingly prominent part of our cultural identity in the 21st century. Consequently, images have become an important tool with which to communicate science. We identify two impediments to science communicators using visual elements effectively: (1) visual material is typically treated as an add-on instead of being an integrated part of the whole and (2) there is a lack of identifying target audiences and refining visual elements for them specifically. We argue that science communicators can become more effective visual communicators if they incorporate elements of theory and practice from the discipline of design.

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Engagement as a Threshold Concept for Science Education and Science Communication

Merryn McKinnon & Judith Vos

Science communication and science education have the same overarching aim—to engage their audiences in science—and both disciplines face similar challenges in achieving this aim. Knowing how to effectively engage their ‘audiences’ is fundamental to the success of both. Both disciplines have well-developed research fields identifying best practice. However, there seems to be an impediment in putting this knowledge into practice, or even much sharing of knowledge between the 2 disciplines. Threshold concepts refer to concepts that are fundamental to thinking and practice in a discipline. In this paper, we argue that engagement is a threshold concept for both science education and science communication. Considering the vast amount of literature on science education and science communication, the focus in this paper is on recent recommendations rather than longstanding, more general notions, providing a contemporary view. This paper illustrates how engagement fulfils the characteristics of a threshold concept for both disciplines and highlights how the 2 fields could assist each other. The purpose of this paper is to spark new conversations and sharing between the 2 disciplines, with the use of threshold concepts as a vehicle for enabling collaboration and progress.

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‘The kind of mildly curious sort of science interested person like me’: Science bloggers’ practices relating to audience recruitment

Mathieu Ranger, Karen Bultitude

With at least 150 million professional and amateur blogs on the Internet, blogging offers a potentially powerful tool for engaging large and diverse audiences with science. This article investigates science blogging practices to uncover key trends, including bloggers’ self-perceptions of their role. Interviews with seven of the most popular science bloggers revealed them to be driven by intrinsic personal motivations. Wishing to pursue their love of writing and share their passion for science, they produce content suitable for niche audiences of science enthusiasts, although they do not assume background scientific knowledge. A content analysis of 1000 blog posts and comparison with the most popular blogs on the Internet further confirmed this result and additionally identified key factors that affect science blog popularity, including update frequency, topic diversity and the inclusion of non-text elements (especially images and video).

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