The need to inform and educate the general public in the area of science and technology has long been seen as necessary for both the health of a country’s economy and the strength of science itself. There have been many initiatives to meet this need in Australia but the majority of these have been aimed at urban audiences. Many rural communities feel left out and unsure of their future in a technology based economy. The research presented here aims to begin addressing this issue by understanding differences in perceptions of science between rural and urban communities.

This research will gather empirical data from a regional university town in Australia with a population of 20,000. This population offers the opportunity to compare and contrast awareness and perception of science and technology between the urban and rural communities that contribute to the city of Armidale. The farmers within the rural community offer an interesting case study, as they are usually strong users of science and technology though many have not received a formal scientific education. These will play a significant role in our analysis of rural community perceptions of science.

This research will use in-depth personal interviews to explore individual’s cognitive structures using word association and laddering techniques used in marketing. Differences between rural and urban perceptions of science will be highlighted. This will create a platform of information upon which the numerous stakeholders in science communication may build successful marketing strategies that will meet the needs of both urban and rural communities.

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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Perceptions of science in rural and urban communities using marketing tools as an aid for differentiation

Sarah Pearson   University of New England

David Pearson   University of New England

The need to inform and educate the general public in the area of science and technology has long been seen as necessary for both the health of a country’s economy and the strength of science itself. There have been many initiatives to meet this need in Australia but the majority of these have been aimed at urban audiences. Many rural communities feel left out and unsure of their future in a technology based economy. The research presented here aims to begin addressing this issue by understanding differences in perceptions of science between rural and urban communities.

This research will gather empirical data from a regional university town in Australia with a population of 20,000. This population offers the opportunity to compare and contrast awareness and perception of science and technology between the urban and rural communities that contribute to the city of Armidale. The farmers within the rural community offer an interesting case study, as they are usually strong users of science and technology though many have not received a formal scientific education. These will play a significant role in our analysis of rural community perceptions of science.

This research will use in-depth personal interviews to explore individual’s cognitive structures using word association and laddering techniques used in marketing. Differences between rural and urban perceptions of science will be highlighted. This will create a platform of information upon which the numerous stakeholders in science communication may build successful marketing strategies that will meet the needs of both urban and rural communities.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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