Background The science communication professional is not supported from new theoretical insights from science communication researchers and vice versa. This is a disadvantage for both the professional and the researcher. The professional misses new insights from which he could improve for example the effectiveness or the manageability of his science communication process. These insights would save a lot of time and money within the science communication practice. And the researcher misses a critical board for questioning and testing new insights or raising new research questions.

Science communication is – according to our opinion – a field of applied science in which research and practice need to be strongly interwoven. In our research we are developing an instrument to bridge the gap between theory and practice from a medical context (predictive DNA diagnostics). This is an instrument for Biomedical Science Communication Process Assessment (BSCPA). BSCPA has proven to be relevant in developing a manageable science communication process.

Objective In our presentation we introduce BSCPA which bridges theory and practice. The instrument consists of thirteen questions raised from science communication theory to be answered by a communication professional. By answering these questions the science communication professional is supported in designing his science communication process. The use of this instrument in turn raises questions from the professionals and will give focus to science communication research. The instrument is digitalised and therefore saves al the answers given and questions raised and forms a database from which other science communication professionals could learn.

Research method The instrument is constructed from theories, models, constructs and variables obtained from health communication, medical psychology and commercial advertising. We have compared these different domains of communication or communication related domains with theoretical developments in (biomedical)science communication. The most relevant ones we used as a basis for the questions in the instrument.

The instrument consists of thirteen questions for the communication professional about the target audience, science communication policy and strategy and implementation. Also communication process variables at risk on miscommunication are taken into account. By answering these questions the communication professional gains insight into the design of the science communication process and the comparing risks. To test the relevance and the manageability of the instrument professionals (communication, communication policy and strategy) were systematically interviewed by a professional interviewer about the difficulties working with BSCPA in the context of predictive DNA diagnostics. Results/Conclusions The respondents interpret BSCPA as an instrument which does assist in designing communication processes and makes theories, models, constructs and variables applicable and manageable in their practice. The instrument helps to assess the knowledge deficient of the communication professional and the impact of the deficiency on the communication process. Not all theories, models, constructs and variables were recognized at first instance by the respondents, therefore the instrument gives new insights directly applicable into practice. The questions on risk on miscommunication were seen as most difficult to answer.

Our future research at the Science Communication & Education Section is on the improvement of BSCPA and development of design heuristics for manageable and effective science communication. Most interesting is to develop criteria to manage risk on miscommunication which may save a lot of time and money in science communication practice.

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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Making science communication manageable

Maarten Van der Sanden   Delft University of Technology, Science Education and Communication

Frans Meijman   VU-University Medical Center

Caroline Wehrmann   Delft University of Technology, Science Education and Communication

Background The science communication professional is not supported from new theoretical insights from science communication researchers and vice versa. This is a disadvantage for both the professional and the researcher. The professional misses new insights from which he could improve for example the effectiveness or the manageability of his science communication process. These insights would save a lot of time and money within the science communication practice. And the researcher misses a critical board for questioning and testing new insights or raising new research questions.

Science communication is – according to our opinion – a field of applied science in which research and practice need to be strongly interwoven. In our research we are developing an instrument to bridge the gap between theory and practice from a medical context (predictive DNA diagnostics). This is an instrument for Biomedical Science Communication Process Assessment (BSCPA). BSCPA has proven to be relevant in developing a manageable science communication process.

Objective In our presentation we introduce BSCPA which bridges theory and practice. The instrument consists of thirteen questions raised from science communication theory to be answered by a communication professional. By answering these questions the science communication professional is supported in designing his science communication process. The use of this instrument in turn raises questions from the professionals and will give focus to science communication research. The instrument is digitalised and therefore saves al the answers given and questions raised and forms a database from which other science communication professionals could learn.

Research method The instrument is constructed from theories, models, constructs and variables obtained from health communication, medical psychology and commercial advertising. We have compared these different domains of communication or communication related domains with theoretical developments in (biomedical)science communication. The most relevant ones we used as a basis for the questions in the instrument.

The instrument consists of thirteen questions for the communication professional about the target audience, science communication policy and strategy and implementation. Also communication process variables at risk on miscommunication are taken into account. By answering these questions the communication professional gains insight into the design of the science communication process and the comparing risks. To test the relevance and the manageability of the instrument professionals (communication, communication policy and strategy) were systematically interviewed by a professional interviewer about the difficulties working with BSCPA in the context of predictive DNA diagnostics. Results/Conclusions The respondents interpret BSCPA as an instrument which does assist in designing communication processes and makes theories, models, constructs and variables applicable and manageable in their practice. The instrument helps to assess the knowledge deficient of the communication professional and the impact of the deficiency on the communication process. Not all theories, models, constructs and variables were recognized at first instance by the respondents, therefore the instrument gives new insights directly applicable into practice. The questions on risk on miscommunication were seen as most difficult to answer.

Our future research at the Science Communication & Education Section is on the improvement of BSCPA and development of design heuristics for manageable and effective science communication. Most interesting is to develop criteria to manage risk on miscommunication which may save a lot of time and money in science communication practice.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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