What’s next for Science Communication? Promising Directions and Lingering Distractions.
This article highlights the role of the “media and public communication, challenging the still dominant assumption that science literacy is both the problem and the solution to societal conflicts.” Nisbert (2009). It emphasizes the need for science communication initiatives that are guided by research. There are four main aspects this article adressed as far as the directions and distractions of science communications is concerned. These aspects are:
- Myths about public communication
- Ethics, outcomes and generalizable meanings: this is a more social progressed frame that tend to define science related issues as solving problems, choosing right or wrong afin focusing on interpreting ways to be in harmony with nature.
- Climate change: this has been a conventional science knowledge since 2007. This was framed by the trusted sources for Republicans and Democrats in different ways. There is uncertainty involved, so there can be discussions and debates that triggers consensus to be reached and can be an issue from known to unknown. There’s also the issue of economic development as a local, national and global competitiveness. This frame also calls for the ethics and morality where respect should prevail in crossing boundaries or where limits are reached.
- Evolution: this frame calls for much of public accountability is taken into account. By this, it means the issue can be a revised edition of science, evolution and creationism.
- Plant technology: this frame helps to explain why some scientific innovations are widely accepted. There’s also inclusiveness of social progress and public accountability.
- Nanotechnology: this frame in science is a specialised area in which the public accountability is prime. The Pandora’s box, which defines science-related issues as a need for precaution or action in face of possibilities; and where there’s limited choice.
- Graduate training and new interdisciplinary degree programs
- Public dialogue that matters
- Data should be trump intuition
- Connecting to public values
- “Going abroad”: beyond elite audiences
- “Going deep”: participatory, localized media
- Science media literacy curriculum
- Opinion leader campaigns that bridge audience gaps
- Conclusion: finally, public communication and engagement is not simple? It is important that trust is built, relationships, and participation across segments of the public is maintained. What’s highlighted above is an important paradigm shift that’s taking place within the scientific community that influences the shift away “from a singular focus to conflicts over science in society.”
Nisbert, M and D Scheufele. 2009. What’s next for science communication?Promising directions and lingering distractions. American Journal of Botany, 96(10): 1767 – 1778