Engagement with Intent? Scientists’ Views of Communication and Why It Matters

Saturday, 14 February 2015: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room LL20D (San Jose Convention Center)
This symposium will explore emerging evidence about what scientists think about public engagement and the degree to which they approach communication with specific goals in mind. Survey data and practitioner experience will be used to highlight what we really know about the factors that drive scientists to engage, as well as how they go about engaging. Asking such questions represents a novel shift in science communication discussions away from asking about how to increase public engagement quantity to asking about how to increase the impact of engagement. Both academic research and practitioner experience will highlight challenges and concerns about getting scientists to think about engagement as more than an opportunity to educate. Speakers will discuss scientists’ perceptions about the value and ethicality of traditional communication goals such as information-sharing and excitement-building, as well as alternative goals such as demonstrating to fellow citizens that scientists are trustworthy, caring, and community-minded and listen to what their fellow citizens have to say. Substantial emphasis is placed on achieving balance between skills training and guidance on goal-setting for science communication training efforts. Similar discussions in public health have put the emphasis on designing campaigns using theories of behavior change, and a focus on impacts is central to the “science of science communication.”
John C. Besley, Michigan State University
Anthony Dudo, University of Texas
Surveying Scientists About Engagement 2012–2014
Jeanne Braha, AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology
AAAS' Engagement Training Experience
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