New Tools to Engage Publics and Assess the Impact of Science Communication

Friday, February 15, 2013: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 308 (Hynes Convention Center)
How do science agencies and organizations know if they are successfully helping their publics to understand and appreciate the beauty and benefits of science? How can they be sure their publics understand new science results or that they see how the available data and information services relate to their lives, values, and priorities? This session presents innovative approaches to evaluating the performance and results of four types of public engagement projects. It will outline how these projects shifted their emphasis from measures of output to outcome and describe the benefits for the targeted publics as well as for the project partners. We will describe the developed methods and the lessons learned and conclude with specific recommendations for related initiatives. We will also discuss the reasons behind choosing these particular tools and methods and how they may be used together in a complementary fashion. To ensure our audience has the time and means to grasp the potential and relevance of the presented methods, audience members will have the opportunity to share and discuss details about their own public engagement projects. We will recommend strategies of how to address the tasks of their projects by adapting or applying our tools. Thus, this symposium will convey an understanding of how audience members may effectively transfer the presented approaches to their own projects.
David Herring, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Edward W. Maibach, George Mason University
Martin Storksdieck, National Research Council
Evaluating the Use of Hands-on Materials in Science Museums
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