Science communications for the real general public
Many people consider science to be hard to understand, boring and irrelevant. In some cases people just accept for granted the phenomena that operate the world and our bodies, and in worse cases they misinterpret basic scientific evidence. We see the results in people's irrational fear of vaccines, GMO's, and even evolution studies in middle school. For children we have science education, but in order to reach the general public we need a different strategy. For the past two years the Davidson Institute of Science Education has been actively promoting science in Israel's leading TV, radio shows, and news websites. We aim at what we call "the real general public" people who are not necessarily interested in science, or don't know they are interested in science. We use general media as an educational tool to reach them. Our involvement includes weekly items on different radio shows, items on the Sports Channel, collaborations with news websites and even with the Jewish TV channel. We publish popular science articles written by scientists, and publish them in non-scientific media.
Since we began this popular media strategy we have witnessed a greater hunger for science among the general public. The snowball we created has led to more and more scientific collaborations between science communicators and the media. In order to evaluate our pioneering work we are now in the process of a mixed-methods study to try and evaluate the impact of our efforts. We are using both qualitative and quantitative analysis such as the portion of scientific items in the media, the interest of the public in these items, and their impact on public opinions. In the conference we will present our science communication strategy and the findings from our study.
A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.