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Different Approaches to Public Communication of Science

Elaine Reynoso-Haynes  

Different Approaches to Public Communication of Science Elaine Reynoso-Haynes, Dirección General de Divulgación de la Ciencia, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), México. A study of the field of Public Communication of Science (PCS) in Mexico over the last five decades shows how it has changed from being an act of "social volunteering" into a full-time profession (Sánchez, et. al., 2014). PCS has also become more complex and diverse. The diversity of media that are used, the range of publics served, the array of motives and strategies employed and different professional backgrounds and expertise as well as styles of those who are active in the field are indicative of how the field has evolved. This diversity and complexity must be addressed in PCS courses in order to provide students with the necessary theoretical and methodological tools as future professionals in the field. As coordinator of a 240 post-graduate course in PCS which has been offered in the UNAM since 1995, I have observed how confusing these different view and styles of teachers is to the students who often find them contradictory. They often ask which is the "correct one" or which one should I use? The answer is there are no "correct formulas", it depends on the project. In order to clarify this panorama and as a didactical tool I have developed a proposal of different views of PCS. These approaches are artistic-cultural, educational, propagandistic, social-political and commercial. Each one reflects different theoretical backgrounds, missions, objectives, strategies, ways of relating to the public, the conformation of work teams and what is to be evaluated. The boundaries between these approaches are not fixed and two or more can be used in the same project. This tool has resulted quite useful to the students. Sánchez, et. al. 2014. PUS, http://pus.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/04/28/0963662514527204

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