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Day1 Civic Science Lab: Experts in the Policymaking Process & Models of Science Communication
 

Day1 Civic Science Lab: Experts in the Policymaking Process & Models of Science Communication

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In the morning session, we will spend time discussing how science and expert advice is used in the policy process; and the different roles that scientists and their organizations can and should play. We will also discuss how scientists generally tend to view the public, the media and the political process and how these assumptions might influence their participation in public life.

In the afternoon session, we will move to discussing the factors that influence public understanding, judgements and decisions. This research has informed different approaches to public outreach, education and communication. For each approach, we will draw on examples relevant to issues and topics that you work on or care deeply about.

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    Day1 Civic Science Lab: Experts in the Policymaking Process & Models of Science Communication Day1 Civic Science Lab: Experts in the Policymaking Process & Models of Science Communication Presentation Transcript

    • The Civic Science LabDay 1: Experts in the Decision-Making Process & Models of Communication@MCNisbetClimate Change InstituteUniversity of Maine 5.14.13Matthew C. NisbetAssociate ProfessorSchool of CommunicationAmerican UniversityWashington D.C.
    • Introductions@MCNisbeto As a scientist, social scientist or professional workingon behalf of an expert institution, what is yourpreferred role relative to public outreach andpolicymaking?o How might this role change given the nature of anissue you may be working on or based on a careerchange?
    • Four Idealized Roles for Scientists in Policymaking@MCNisbetPure ScientistHonest Broker ofPolicy AlternativesIssue AdvocateScienceArbiterLinear Model Stakeholder ModelVIEW OF SCIENCE IN SOCIETY(Madisonian)Interest grouppluralism(Schnattsneider)EliteConflict
    • The Scientific Arbiter@MCNisbetoResponds to request or need frompolicymakers or media for synthesisof expert opinion and researchrelated to emerging science, trend orproblem.oTypically stops short of offering policyadvice or advocating on behalf of apolicy option.
    • (Stealth) Issue Advocate@MCNisbetoRun into problems when scientificfindings, studies or reports areframed as compelling specificpolicy action or choice.oStealth advocates limit policyoptions rather than expand them.
    • Honest Broker Approach@MCNisbetMeans and options focused• Goal: Adaptation and resilience.• Expand menu of options currently discussed.• Provide differential information oneffectiveness, risks, costs, social implications.Pluralistic and participatory• Diversity of experts and stakeholders.• Public consultation and co-learning.Goal is to enable and empower decisions, not toinfluence, persuade or limit.
    • Finding Solutions to a Wicked Problem@MCNisbet
    • Tornado versus Abortion Politics@MCNisbet
    • Discussion Question@MCNisbeto Think about individual scientists or organizationsworking either at the state or national level. Drawingon the Pielke reading and discussion, which scientistsand organizations reflect the role ofo science arbiter?o issue advocate?o stealth advocate?o honest broker?o How effective have each of these individuals ororganizations been?
    • The Rightful Place of Science?Politicization and Technocracy@MCNisbet
    • The Rightful Place of Science?Politicization and Technocracy@MCNisbet
    • Deficit Model Assumptions@MCNisbet If the public knew more about the technical side ofscience, then the public would view issues as scientistsdo, and there would be fewer controversies. Need to return to a point in the past where science wasrespected and citizens were informed. Emphasis is on improving science literacy through formaleducation and science media.
    • 1957: Is the Past That Different from Today?Science Literacy@MCNisbet 12% of the public understood the scientific approach ormethod. On basic questions tapping knowledge ofpolio, fluoridation, radioactivity, and space satellites, only 1in 6 could answer all four questions correctly. Only 38% knew that the Moon was smaller than the Earthand only 4% could correctly indicate the distance in milesbetween the Moon and the Earth.Michael, D.N. (1960). The Beginning of the Space Age and Public Opinion. Public Opinion Quarterly, 573-582;Withey, S.B. (1959). Public opinion about science and scientists. Public Opinion Quarterly, 382-388.
    • 1957: Is the Past That Different from Today?Low Knowledge But Support for Science@MCNisbetMichael, D.N. (1960). The Beginning of the Space Age and Public Opinion. Public Opinion Quarterly, 573-582;Withey, S.B. (1959). Public opinion about science and scientists. Public Opinion Quarterly, 382-388.
    • 1957: Is the Past That Different from Today?Low Knowledge But Support for Science@MCNisbetMichael, D.N. (1960). The Beginning of the Space Age and Public Opinion. Public Opinion Quarterly, 573-582;Withey, S.B. (1959). Public opinion about science and scientists. Public Opinion Quarterly, 382-388.
    • 1957: Is the Past That Different from Today?Perception is Context Dependent@MCNisbetMichael, D.N. (1960). The Beginning of the Space Age and Public Opinion. Public Opinion Quarterly, 573-582;Withey, S.B. (1959). Public opinion about science and scientists. Public Opinion Quarterly, 382-388.0102030405060Behind Russia,SecurityPropaganda NothingsignificantReligiousMeaningScientificAdvancement1957: Looking tothe future, whatwould you say isthe real meaningof Sputnik to ushere in America?
    • 1957: Is the Past That Different from Today?Perception is Context Dependent@MCNisbetNational Science Board (2008). Chapter 7: Public Attitudes about Science and Technology. Science & Engineering Indicators.
    • 2008: Is the Past That Different from Today? Deep PublicOptimism and Trust in Science@MCNisbet More than 70% of all American adults believe that the benefits ofscientific research outweigh the harmful results. More than 85% of Americans agree that “even if it brings no immediatebenefits, scientific research that advances the frontiers of knowledge isnecessary and should be supported by the federal government.” On climate change, stem cell research, and foodbiotechnology, Americans believe scientists hold greater expertise, areless self interested, and should have greater say in decisions thanindustry leaders, elected officials, and/or religious leaders. Among institutions, only the military has greater trust than science.Analysis of 2006 General Social Survey; National Science Board (2008). Chapter 7: Public Attitudes about Science and Technology.Science & Engineering Indicators.
    • 2. Networks and Trust Matter@MCNisbetSocialrelationships, networks, and identitiesTrust, credibility, alienation relative to science-related institutionsThe uptakeandinfluence of“expert”science-relatedknowledgePracticalreason, localizedknowledgeBryan Wynne
    • Common Criteria Used to Judge Expert Advice@MCNisbet1) Does expert knowledge work? Do predictions fail?2) Do expert claims pay attention to other availableknowledge?3) Are experts open to criticism? Admission oferrors, or oversights?4) What are the social / institutional affiliations ofexperts? Historical track record oftrustworthiness, affiliation with industry?5) What issues overlap or connect to lay experience?
    • Q: What Issues/Examples from Your Work Are Consistentwith Wynne’s Observations?@MCNisbet1) Does expert knowledge work? Do predictions fail?2) Do expert claims pay attention to other availableknowledge?3) Are experts open to criticism? Admission oferrors, or oversights?4) What are the social / institutional affiliations ofexperts? Historical track record oftrustworthiness, affiliation with industry?5) What issues overlap or connect to lay experience?
    • Models of Science Communication@MCNisbetBrossard, D., & Lewenstein, B. V. (2009). A Critical Appraisal of Models of Public Understanding of Science: Using Practice to InformTheory. In L. Kahlor & P. Stout (Eds.), Communicating Science: New Agendas in Communication(pp. 11-39). New York: Routledge.
    • Examples of Models of Science Communication@MCNisbetBrossard, D., & Lewenstein, B. V. (2009). A Critical Appraisal of Models of Public Understanding of Science: Using Practice to InformTheory. In L. Kahlor & P. Stout (Eds.), Communicating Science: New Agendas in Communication(pp. 11-39). New York: Routledge.
    • COMPASS: Contextualist and Network Approach@MCNisbetBrossard, D., & Lewenstein, B. V. (2009). A Critical Appraisal of Models of Public Understanding of Science: Using Practice to InformTheory. In L. Kahlor & P. Stout (Eds.), Communicating Science: New Agendas in Communication(pp. 11-39). New York: Routledge.
    • The Deficit vs. Public Engagement Model@MCNisbetGroffman, P. Stylinski, C., Nisbet, M.C. et al. (2010). Restarting the Conversation: Challenges at the Interface of Science and Society.Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8, 284-291.
    • Models of Science Communication@MCNisbetBrossard, D., & Lewenstein, B. V. (2009). A Critical Appraisal of Models of Public Understanding of Science: Using Practice to InformTheory. In L. Kahlor & P. Stout (Eds.), Communicating Science: New Agendas in Communication(pp. 11-39). New York: Routledge.
    • Discussion QuestionThink about the issues or topics that you are working on, care mostdeeply about, or are most familiar with. Drawing on the Brossard &Lewenstein reading, identify examples that reflect the:o deficit modelo social contextualist modelo lay expertise modelo public engagement models of science communicationWhat factors account for why one of these models might have beenadopted over another?@MCNisbet