As social media platforms expand, science communication practitioners are increasingly considering what their role should be in science engagement. There are important limitations, as well as opportunities, involved in using these media as sites for public engagement with science, some of which are not well understood. One key question facing science communicators is how to evaluate the impacts of social media-based science engagement. This topic is the focus of the proposed workshop. This workshop draws on methodological development from the Public Engagement with Research Online (PERO) project funded by the UK government Joint Information & Skills Committee that was completed in November 2012 (http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/sociology/staff/academicstaff/jensen/ ericjensen/pero). This project yielded recommendations about how to effectively measure the spread and impact of scientific ideas communicated online. Since this time, Dr. Jensen has been working on ways in which the process of evaluating public engagement impact in social media settings can be automated through developing valid forms of (automated) sentiment analysis. This work is currently being conducted as part of the Qualia project, which is funded by the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Arts Council: qualia.org.uk. This work will be further developed by a 2014 project on ‘The role of technology in evaluating the non-economic impacts of arts and culture’ (funded by the UNITED KINGDOM’s Arts & Humanities Research Council). This workshop will offer cutting edge advice and practical experience with evaluating science communication impacts on social media, drawing upon techniques and methodology developed through the projects described above. Dr Eric Jensen is Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick. Jensen is a widely published researcher in the field of public engagement, and is an expert in public engagement and impact evaluation methodology. He leads a Master’s module on ‘Researching Science, Media and Public Policy’, convenes the department’s Social Research Methods module and is currently co-authoring the methods textbook ‘Doing Real Research’ for SAGE.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Evaluating the impacts of social media-based public engagement

Eric Allen Jensen   University of Warwick, United Kingdom

As social media platforms expand, science communication practitioners are increasingly considering what their role should be in science engagement. There are important limitations, as well as opportunities, involved in using these media as sites for public engagement with science, some of which are not well understood. One key question facing science communicators is how to evaluate the impacts of social media-based science engagement. This topic is the focus of the proposed workshop. This workshop draws on methodological development from the Public Engagement with Research Online (PERO) project funded by the UK government Joint Information & Skills Committee that was completed in November 2012 (http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/sociology/staff/academicstaff/jensen/ ericjensen/pero). This project yielded recommendations about how to effectively measure the spread and impact of scientific ideas communicated online. Since this time, Dr. Jensen has been working on ways in which the process of evaluating public engagement impact in social media settings can be automated through developing valid forms of (automated) sentiment analysis. This work is currently being conducted as part of the Qualia project, which is funded by the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Arts Council: qualia.org.uk. This work will be further developed by a 2014 project on ‘The role of technology in evaluating the non-economic impacts of arts and culture’ (funded by the UNITED KINGDOM’s Arts & Humanities Research Council). This workshop will offer cutting edge advice and practical experience with evaluating science communication impacts on social media, drawing upon techniques and methodology developed through the projects described above. Dr Eric Jensen is Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick. Jensen is a widely published researcher in the field of public engagement, and is an expert in public engagement and impact evaluation methodology. He leads a Master’s module on ‘Researching Science, Media and Public Policy’, convenes the department’s Social Research Methods module and is currently co-authoring the methods textbook ‘Doing Real Research’ for SAGE.

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