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Beacon talk - Science Communication Goals and Objectives

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This is a talk scheduled for August 15, 2015 to the BEACON retreat. The work is work in progress; future iterations will build on this set of slides.

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Beacon talk - Science Communication Goals and Objectives

  1. 1. Thinking about objectives and goals for science communication John C. Besley, Ph.D. Ellis N. Brandt Chair College of Communication Arts and Sciences
  2. 2. Our schedule together … 12:00-13:00: Goals/objectives discussion 13:00-13:45: General discussion 13:00-13:25: Small group discussion 13:25-13:45: Large group discussion My objectives 1. You will think about engagement as a strategic act that involves purposeful choice of long-term goals and intermediate objectives. 2. You will think about engagement tactics and skills in terms of whether they can help you achieve your intermediate objectives.
  3. 3. How many of you have taken part in a “Science Festival”
  4. 4. How many of you have taken part in a “Science Café”
  5. 5. How many of you have taken part in science discussion panel meant for non-scientists
  6. 6. How many of you blog about science?
  7. 7. How many of you tweet about science?
  8. 8. How many of have ever talked to a reporter about science?
  9. 9. How many of you have ever talked to a government official about science?
  10. 10. Engagement is … Face-to-face Direct w/policy-makers Online Mediated
  11. 11. Engagement is … Face-to-face Direct w/policy-makers Online Mediated http://ceblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/brain-system1-system2.jpg
  12. 12. Numbers vary … but scientists clearly engage • 63% interacted with a journalist in last year Dunwoody and Ryan, 1985 • 70% interacted with a journalist in last 3 years Peters, Brossard, de Cheveigné, Dunwoody, 2008 • 51% have ever interacted with journalist AAAS 2015 • 33% engaged directly with policy-makers Royal Society 2006 • 24% blogged about science AAAS 2015 • 13% worked with a science center/museum Royal Society 2006 Our own AAAS data (2013, n = 388) • 75% had engaged face-to-face • 49% had engaged online • 45% had interacted with the media • 30% had “other”-wise engaged *All work done collaboratively with Anthony Dudo, U. Texas
  13. 13. Most science communication training … • Focuses on writing/speaking skills • Focuses on honing YOUR message • Understanding media/political norms • Focuses on learning to use technology
  14. 14. What happens if you get really good at communicating the wrong stuff? I don’t mean bad content…
  15. 15. What does it mean to be an “effective” communicator?
  16. 16. In strategic communication: Effective = Achieving Your Goals
  17. 17. What do you want to ULTIMATELY achieve through public engagement? (Write it down)
  18. 18. How many of you wrote: • Raise awareness of XYX topic • Teach people about XYZ topic • Correct myths about XYZ topic • Get people interested in XYZ topic • Build positive image of science • Get people to think about XYZ topic in a new way The may be good things … but I do not think of them as ULTIMATE goals … • Key question: Why do you want to “raise awareness,” etc.
  19. 19. How many of you wrote: • Seek a specific policy position (e.g. climate action) • Seek more funding for science • Seek more freedom for scientific endeavors • Make the world healthier, wealthier, and wiser • Promote science as a career* To me … these are the ULTIMATE goals (*this may be an intermediate objective)
  20. 20. Tactics, objectives, and goals *Work done collaboratively with Anthony Dudo, U. Texas Scientists may/should also have personal goals (enhance career and sense of impact) Channels provide different “affordances” Not every objective is equally effective …
  21. 21. Objective: Increase science literacy/awareness It is true that science literacy is low, low, low
  22. 22. Objective: Increase science literacy/awareness Also true that nobody knows much about much
  23. 23. Objective: Increase science literacy/awareness Knowledge has only limited impact on attitudes
  24. 24. Objective: Increase science literacy/awareness
  25. 25. Objective: Increase science literacy/awareness Knowledge has only limited impact on attitudes
  26. 26. Objective: Increase science literacy/awareness Also lots of ‘information provision’ experiments
  27. 27. 2013 AAAS Scientist Survey: Objectives 4.96 5.34 4.59 5 5.22 4.76 5.59 5.88 5.72 6.04 5.96 5.79 6.14 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 messaging goal average (r = .54) describing … in ways that make them relevant framing research … {to} resonate … trust goals average (r = .54) demonstrating … openness & transparency hearing what others think … getting people excited about science knowledge goals average (r = .41) ensuring that scientists … are part of … ensuring that people are informed … defensive goals average (r = .63) defending science … correcting scientific misinformation Strategic objectives “How much should each of the following be a priority for online public engagement?” All questions had a range of 1-7 where 1 was the “lowest priority” and 7 was the “highest priority” BUT scientists love the ‘literacy’ objective …
  28. 28. SHARING knowledge will always be a central part of science communication (But …)
  29. 29. Tactics, objectives, and goals *Work done collaboratively with Anthony Dudo, U. Texas If not just knowledge, what else can we focus on?
  30. 30. A few thoughts about ethics
  31. 31. Objective: Build positive views about science/scientists Those involved in science have a generally positive image?
  32. 32. Objective: Build positive views about science/scientists Those involved in science have a generally positive image?
  33. 33. Objective: Build positive views about science/scientists Those involved in science have a generally positive image?
  34. 34. Objective: Build positive views about science/scientists But there’s a catch … You’re seen as competent but cold
  35. 35. 2013 AAAS Scientist Survey: Objectives 4.96 5.34 4.59 5 5.22 4.76 5.59 5.88 5.72 6.04 5.96 5.79 6.14 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 messaging goal average (r = .54) describing … in ways that make them relevant framing research … {to} resonate … trust goals average (r = .54) demonstrating … openness & transparency hearing what others think … getting people excited about science knowledge goals average (r = .41) ensuring that scientists … are part of … ensuring that people are informed … defensive goals average (r = .63) defending science … correcting scientific misinformation Strategic objectives “How much should each of the following be a priority for online public engagement?” All questions had a range of 1-7 where 1 was the “lowest priority” and 7 was the “highest priority”
  36. 36. If warmth is so important, how can scientists be seen as more warm
  37. 37. WARM COLORS (This a joke)
  38. 38. Face-to-face Direct w/policy-makers Online Mediated Public Engagement = Positive Public Interaction
  39. 39. I have questions about the impact of these … (Research in progress)
  40. 40. And these too… (Research in progress) Funny and/or cathartic Equal effective communication
  41. 41. And these too… (Research in progress)
  42. 42. Tactics, objectives, and goals *Work done collaboratively with Anthony Dudo, U. Texas If not just knowledge, what else can we focus on?
  43. 43. Tversksy, A., & Kahneman, D. (1981). The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice. Science, 211, 453-458. Classic work on heuristics …
  44. 44. Tversksy, A., & Kahneman, D. (1981). The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice. Science, 211, 453-458.
  45. 45. “Frames are interpretive storylines that set a specific train of thought in motion, communicating why an issue might be a problem, who or what might be responsible for it, and what should be done about it.” Objective: Put issue in new context (frame) Nisbet, Matthew C. 2010. "Framing science: A new paradigm in public engagement." In Communicating Science: New Agendas in Communication, edited by L. A. Kahlor and P. A. Stout, 40-67.
  46. 46. http://sfa.frameworksinstitute.org/ Objective: Put issue in new context (frame)
  47. 47. “Frames are interpretive storylines that set a specific train of thought in motion, communicating why an issue might be a problem, who or what might be responsible for it, and what should be done about it.” This is really about _______________ and how ____________ is/are responsible for ____________. We therefore need to _____________. This is really about Bill Gates copied Apple and how Microsoft is responsible for copyright infringement. We therefore need to sue. Re. How should we think about the origins of the graphical user interface? This is really about Apple and Microsoft both borrowed an idea from the public conversation (i.e., Xerox) and how no one is responsible for damages. We therefore need to do nothing, except compete.
  48. 48. Framing quiz … Is it an estate tax or a _______________ Is it oil drilling or ___________________ Is it eavesdropping or _______________ Is it global warming or _______________ Is it a used car or a __________________ Is it a secretary or a __________________ Is it gay marriage or __________________ Is it anti-abortion or __________________ Is it pro-abortion or __________________ Is it impotence or ____________________ If you’re against a union or for ______________ It’s not single-payer medicine it’s ___________ You’re not an environmentalist you’re a ______ I’m not a liberal I’m a _____________________ It’s not a regulation it’s a __________________ Others???
  49. 49. Episodic vs. Thematic Framing
  50. 50. Episodic vs. Thematic Framing
  51. 51. Objective: Put issue in new context (frame)
  52. 52. Re. Gay Marriage? Objective: Put issue in new context (frame)
  53. 53. Backlash to “security” frame Framing doesn’t always work as planned …
  54. 54. 2013 AAAS Scientist Survey: Objectives 4.96 5.34 4.59 5 5.22 4.76 5.59 5.88 5.72 6.04 5.96 5.79 6.14 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 messaging goal average (r = .54) describing … in ways that make them relevant framing research … {to} resonate … trust goals average (r = .54) demonstrating … openness & transparency hearing what others think … getting people excited about science knowledge goals average (r = .41) ensuring that scientists … are part of … ensuring that people are informed … defensive goals average (r = .63) defending science … correcting scientific misinformation Strategic objectives “How much should each of the following be a priority for online public engagement?” All questions had a range of 1-7 where 1 was the “lowest priority” and 7 was the “highest priority”
  55. 55. Finally: What does it mean to know your “audience” (= “interlocutors”)?
  56. 56. Tactics, objectives, and goals What do they want to hear? What might they want to say? What do they think/feel about you? How are they thinking about issues? But don’t forget … What are YOU trying to achieve? What is the ethical path to achieving it?
  57. 57. Exercise ... Logic model/Theories of change We will you do: ___________ It will lead to: ___________ It will lead to: ___________ It will lead to: ___________ The impact will be: ___________ The impact will be: ___________ What skills do we need: ___________________ What resources do we need: _______________ What’s the first step: ______________________ How does this fit our needs: ________________ How does this fit our values: _______________ How will you know if you succeed: __________ +
  58. 58. Final thoughts I … There are no silver bullets Not everyone is reachable It takes time
  59. 59. Final thoughts II … It might be okay to have a friend photograph your wedding … But sometimes help is … helpful. And there’s no need to reinvent the wheel …
  60. 60. To evaluate the talk: https://goo.gl/opna16

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