WK 40
Is Anybody out There Listening? Measuring Success in Science Communication

Thursday, August 14, 2014: 11:30 AM-1:15 PM
204, Sacramento Convention Center
Liza Lester, Ecological Society of America
Katie Burke, American Scientist Magazine (Sigma Xi)
Holly Menninger, North Carolina State University; and Virginia Gewin, Freelance Science Journalist
There is a strong pro-communication current in the scientific community these days, manifesting in a wide variety of forms, from the traditional news article to social media and citizen science. Successful science communication can lead to more citations, more funding, and greater impact on policy decisions. But what empirical evidence is there to indicate the most effective methods? We propose a panel to instigate discussion on this topic, with representatives from science journalism, media studies (social scientists who study communication), science communication training, citizen science, crowd-funded science, and environmental advocacy.

Each panelist will be asked to come to the session with a question for the audience that demonstrates a particular communication tactic to which the audience may respond, or that compares and contrasts different communication strategies meant to promote interest or understanding among particular audiences. Following this activity, the audience will participate in a question-and-answer session with the panel. Questions that we will use to promote discussion include:

  • How would you design a study to help scientists choose particular communication strategies from the wealth of options available?
  • How do we evaluate communication success? And what does “success” mean for scientists and science communicators?
  • How does a perception of political neutrality/ advocacy affect the success of communicating scientific information? Should scientists be impartial or advocates?
  • How do you successfully reach a new audience in comparison to people who are already familiar with your field?

Registration Fee: $0

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