The  dispute about  science  communication has tended  to  focus  on public opinion and  attitudes towards  science and scientists. The views of  scientists have often been neglected.  Policies to deal with science and society issues  make ever growing demands on scientists to improve their communication  skills and to be involved in public dialogue,  but there is  a relative lack of knowledge about scientists’  attitudes towards these themes. This knowledge should also be considered  a basic need to improve the developing and delivering of science communication  courses addressing to the researchers.  We have considered  various aspects of  the problem by the construction  of a representative  survey of  over 300 Italian  researchers. We have started the qualitative  stage of the research through interviews  – that will serve as the basis  for the  quantitative stage based on a questionnaire  - conducted with some scientists of different backgrounds and positions.  We have explored if  scientists  recognize a need  to communicate their research and its  implications in  the public sphere; if they feel able to communicate effectively themselves to the public, through the media,  to politicians, etc. In this phase, a  distance  emerged  between  the  perception of an  activity,  the  communicative one,  that  is considered  by scientists  as  secondary, and the reality of  a working day that is full of communicative activities.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Scientists’ view about communication in the Italian context

Nico Pitrelli   Innovations in the Communication of Science(ICS), Science and Society Sector, International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste, Italy

Giancarlo Brunelli   Innovations in the Communication of Science (ICS), Science and Society Sector, International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste, Italy

Valentina Murelli   Innovations in the Communication of Science (ICS), Science and Society Sector, International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste, Italy

The  dispute about  science  communication has tended  to  focus  on public opinion and  attitudes towards  science and scientists. The views of  scientists have often been neglected.  Policies to deal with science and society issues  make ever growing demands on scientists to improve their communication  skills and to be involved in public dialogue,  but there is  a relative lack of knowledge about scientists’  attitudes towards these themes. This knowledge should also be considered  a basic need to improve the developing and delivering of science communication  courses addressing to the researchers.  We have considered  various aspects of  the problem by the construction  of a representative  survey of  over 300 Italian  researchers. We have started the qualitative  stage of the research through interviews  – that will serve as the basis  for the  quantitative stage based on a questionnaire  - conducted with some scientists of different backgrounds and positions.  We have explored if  scientists  recognize a need  to communicate their research and its  implications in  the public sphere; if they feel able to communicate effectively themselves to the public, through the media,  to politicians, etc. In this phase, a  distance  emerged  between  the  perception of an  activity,  the  communicative one,  that  is considered  by scientists  as  secondary, and the reality of  a working day that is full of communicative activities.

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