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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

DIAGNOSIS OF THE PUBLIC COMMUNICATION OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN MEXICO
A METHOD

JORGE PADILLA  

In recent years there have been several assessments of the status of the popularization of science in Mexico: in a very broad and deep way in several states, and at an exploratory level for the whole country. These diagnostics have served as a basis for the further development of programs for public communication of science, which have involved diverse actors in this field. The method used to perform these diagnostics involves gathering information from both secondary sources (studies of the local context) as well as from primary sources. The latter ones were surveys answered by the various actors of public communication of science, focus groups involving samples of people from relevant sectors of society, and individual interviews with key people related to the field. These diagnostics have allowed, on one hand, identify all the specific agents who perform the popularization of science and technology: Higher education institutions, research centers, the media, and organized groups of science communicators, government agencies of the S&T sector and other fields, and technology-based companies. Alternatively, they have enabled dimensioning and describing the activity of popularization of science and technology, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Finally, they have led to an identification -which has involved local communities of communicators of S&T- of the strengths and weaknesses of the communication of science and its performers, as well as the opportunities and threats that exist in the relevant context, regarding the public communication of science to contribute to strengthen the scientific culture of the Mexican population. The method used for diagnostics is presented; as well as the main results, which though relevant to Mexico, could provide a reference for the analysis of the popularization of science and technology in other countries.

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