PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Mapping differences in public engagement
Scientists’ views on public engagement activities in Croatia

Blanka Jergović  

Outreach activities of scientists are increased, and occasionally there are attempts to improve the communication with the general public, such as meetings and public discussions. So far, there was no research on how science is popularized in Croatia and how those who are involved perceive the challenges of science popularization. This presentation provides a descriptive picture of Croatian scientists perception of their outreach activities. It is based on the data from the exploratory study that included an online survey and in depth interviews with scientists and science communicators. The results point to the different kind of formats of the public engagement, and to the intrinsic motivation and self-commitment to it. Lack of recognition, organizational support and networking as an interpersonal support, are seen as the main obstacles for the better communication. Lack of information in the public, and informing about new research results as the main goal of communication activities reflect the deficit perspective. Science popularization and promotion of the scientific way of thinking are the main reasons to communicate science to the broader audience. The possible theoretical and empirical implications are found primarily in the opportunity to contribute to the data collection and to gain comparative insights into public engagement activities. The results point towards differences in the view on science popularization or communication among scientists and professional science communicators, including public relations or communication specialists, and their views on science popularization, which indicates that the approach to the evaluation of public engagement activities and its indicators should be different for those two groups. Session: Evaluating public communication of science and technology Ongoing research, preliminary (completed) data will be presented

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