Experts and citizens answer: What science does the ordinary citizen need?

Experts and citizens answer: What science does the ordinary citizen need?

Author: Jorge Padilla – SOMEDICYT, Mexico


  • Patricia Aguilera-Jimenez – Dirección General de Divulgación de la Ciencia-UNAM, Mexico
  • Martin Bonfi-Olivera – Dirección General de Divulgación de la Ciencia-UNAM, Mexico
  • Alba Sofia Gutierrez-Ramirez – ITESO, Mexico
  • Susana Herrera-Lima – Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente, ITESO, Mexico
  • Ma De Lourdes Patino Barba – Sociedad Mexicana para la Divulgación de la Ciencia y la Técnica, SOMEDICYT, Mexico

Scientific culture is an important and debated concept in science communication communities around the world. A team of researchers and practitioners in science communication from SOMEDICYT in Mexico, developed a research project during 2018 and 2019. The main purposes of the project were: on one hand, to know the scientists’, communicators’ and decision makers’ imaginaries and notions about scientific culture, and citizen’s science needs; and, on the other hand, to know the ordinary citizens’ imaginaries about science and its function and relevance in society. Ultimatelly, this work refers to the interest of individuals in science and scientific knowledge.

The project consisted of two studies, in one of them the subjects were scientists, communicators and decision makers, and the main topics were the objectives of science communication, the features of a scientific cultured citizen, the science needed by citizens, scientific culture as a social need, among others. It was a quantitative study, developed through an online survey. It was answered by 490 people.

In the second study the subjects were citizens older than 16, from six cities in Mexico. They were surveyed in person. The questions of the survey were about the importance of science, his/her interest in science, his/her opinion about science’s risks and benefits, the main concepts and topics about science that they need to know.

The results of both studies were statistically processed and analyzed in two separated sets. Later, some variables and results were compared. We developed a three axes analytical model, based in Laspra’s proposal about scientific culture. The findings show important divergences between notions and values about science in both studies. There were some findings related with different conceptions and components of scientific culture among scientists and communicators.

Hopefully, the results of the research will provide useful information for both, practitioners and researchers in science communication.

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

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Time