Is science communication training effective? Integrating research into practice

Is science communication training effective? Integrating research into practice

Author: Yael Barel-Ben David – Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

Ayelet Baram-Tsabari – Faculty of Education in Science and Technology Technion, Israel Institute of Technology
John C. Besley – Michigan State University
Dacia Herbulock – Science Media Centre, New Zealand

Demand for science communication training has soared in recent years, as scientists and institutions recognize the need for science to be more relevant to society. However, many training programs operate in isolation from each other and from communication researchers, which has tended to broaden the gap between research and practice. Hence, training programs are only loosely grounded in empirical studies, and we lack a coherent framework for assessing performance and integrating new learning.

From this gap emerged a need to implement research-based assessment and improvements into professional practice and the other way around, also known as Research-Practice Partnerships (RPPs). These partnerships are a two-way street, bringing research and empirical results into the practice of science communication (scicomm) training, as well as bringing the needs rising from the field of practice into the research agenda.

This group paper presents four studies: first, a collaboration between the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and Technion researchers addressing both participants’ and practitioners’ input in assessing the goals and effectiveness of the programs; next, an evaluation of long-term impacts from the New Zealand Science Media Centre’s range of training programs for scientists, from multi-day intensive courses to one-on-one micro (15 min.) sessions; an examination of US scientists’ views on what science communication training should address, and finally, empirical results on the effect of scicomm intervention on Israeli early career scientists’ popular and academic writing skills. Altogether, these studies lay out research-based insights that could be used to establish evidenced-based pedagogy in scicomm trainings. We will address questions of integrating research based insights into practice and vice versa, aiming to create robust Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships.

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

Presentation type: Grouped paper
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Applying science communication research to practice