This paper aims to present and discuss the results of an evaluation of the effects and attitudes towards practical science communication training and science communication generally, as delivered through 20 science communication workshops in 2009 and 2010. The training, which was funded by the European Commission through FP7 and delivered by ESConet Trainers, targeted European scientists and researchers from all disciplines, levels of seniority and previous experience of science communication activities. All trainees were asked to fill in post-training questionnaires, in an attempt to measure their level of confidence, and their attitudes towards science communication activities. Additionally, the trainees of 2010 were asked to fill in pre- training questionnaires, to which the results of the post-training questionnaires may be compared. Building on an extensive data analysis, the results suggest that though many trainees may have underestimated the obstacles faced when communicating science, but that their level of confidence in doing so increased following the workshops. Finally, with regards to their attitudes towards science communication and the public understanding of science, the results showed that trainees were more inclined to agree with statements in line with increased public awareness and the need for dialogue, rather than the more paternalistic and one-directional ways of the public understanding of science movement.

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Training for science communication
Does it make any difference?

Steve Miller   Department of Science and Technology Studies University College of London

Kajsa-Stina Magnusson   Department of Science and Technology Studies University College of London

This paper aims to present and discuss the results of an evaluation of the effects and attitudes towards practical science communication training and science communication generally, as delivered through 20 science communication workshops in 2009 and 2010. The training, which was funded by the European Commission through FP7 and delivered by ESConet Trainers, targeted European scientists and researchers from all disciplines, levels of seniority and previous experience of science communication activities. All trainees were asked to fill in post-training questionnaires, in an attempt to measure their level of confidence, and their attitudes towards science communication activities. Additionally, the trainees of 2010 were asked to fill in pre- training questionnaires, to which the results of the post-training questionnaires may be compared. Building on an extensive data analysis, the results suggest that though many trainees may have underestimated the obstacles faced when communicating science, but that their level of confidence in doing so increased following the workshops. Finally, with regards to their attitudes towards science communication and the public understanding of science, the results showed that trainees were more inclined to agree with statements in line with increased public awareness and the need for dialogue, rather than the more paternalistic and one-directional ways of the public understanding of science movement.

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

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