Understanding best practice evaluation is paramount to the problem of determining best practice science communication; however, the problem is fundamentally one of determining which features of science communication might be usefully considered. Such features are often discussed by researchers and practitioners within debates about models of science communication. In particular, many researchers and practitioners debate the appropriateness of a model of “engagement” or participation for describing and evaluating science communication activities. While some have suggested that science communication models have evolved, others contest that progressive models are merely reincarnations of old ones—particularly in practice. Nonetheless, a sense remains in science communication circles that science communication activities modelled by notions of deficit and dialogue are less desirable than ones modelled by engagement.

It is our understanding of modelling, and its resulting influence on evaluation practice, that is central to what I’d like to discuss here. I will argue that it is our misapplication of these models of science communication that is hindering the development of effective evaluation practices, and that a new view, or perspective, of the features that make up these models is needed.

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Science Communication E(value)ation
Understanding Best Practice

Melanie J. McKenzie   School of English, Media Studies and Art History, University of Queensland

Understanding best practice evaluation is paramount to the problem of determining best practice science communication; however, the problem is fundamentally one of determining which features of science communication might be usefully considered. Such features are often discussed by researchers and practitioners within debates about models of science communication. In particular, many researchers and practitioners debate the appropriateness of a model of “engagement” or participation for describing and evaluating science communication activities. While some have suggested that science communication models have evolved, others contest that progressive models are merely reincarnations of old ones—particularly in practice. Nonetheless, a sense remains in science communication circles that science communication activities modelled by notions of deficit and dialogue are less desirable than ones modelled by engagement.

It is our understanding of modelling, and its resulting influence on evaluation practice, that is central to what I’d like to discuss here. I will argue that it is our misapplication of these models of science communication that is hindering the development of effective evaluation practices, and that a new view, or perspective, of the features that make up these models is needed.

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