An auto-ethnographic audit of science communication interest among Nigerian communication academics

An auto-ethnographic audit of science communication interest among Nigerian communication academics

Author: Herbert Batta – University of Uyo, Nigeria

Human lives are inextricably steeped in science. Understanding and dealing with our cosmos, food, environment, health, education, products and artifacts are inseparable from science and technology. At the same time, science is complex, broad, controversial and often uncertain. To reduce the quandary and allow citizens to acquire meaningful, decision-oriented knowledge; communication becomes critical for public understanding, appreciation, popularization and utilization of science.

Science communication academics play a key role in educating scientists, media professionals, and other stakeholders. At the moment, there is no documented research on interest in science communication scholarship among communication educators in Nigeria. This study investigates the extent to which Nigerian communication academics show interest and engage in science communication scholarship. It poses the following questions: how do Nigerian communication academics perceive science communication as a field of inquiry? What is the level of interest exhibited by Nigerian communication academics towards science communication scholarship? To what extent are Nigerian communication academics engaged in science communication endeavors?

Given the implication of this study for the determination of a country’s science communication culture, the theoretical framework that underpins it is the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT). The methodology adopted is the auto-ethnographic one combining features of personal experience, a survey of the 150-member Council for Communication Education in Nigeria and critical literature review. The proposition for testing in this study is that communications academics in departments with distinct courses in science, health, environmental, and development communication are likely to show more interest and engagement in science communication than those without. This study would make recommendations based on the findings and the conclusions drawn. The significance is that it would allow the evaluation of the contributions of communication academics to science communication scholarship and culture in Nigeria.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Teaching science communication