Preaching to the choir?: Science communication and the audiences not reached

Preaching to the choir?: Science communication and the audiences not reached

Author: Christian Humm – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany


  • Annette Leßmöllmann – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
  • Philipp Schrögel – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Various parts of society are not reached by the established forms of science communication. This challenge for equitable participation is increasingly addressed in research and practice (e.g. Bultitude 2014, Dawson 2019). However, a comprehensive overview of underserved audiences is lacking so far. The heterogeneity of the underserved audiences makes it difficult to define concrete groups. Often, it is a combination of different factors and practices of science communication that lead to marginalization. Therefore, we took the approach of identifying exclusion factors based on a systematic review of research and practice literature, resulting in a comprehensive typology. This typology includes 31 exclusion factors — categorized into three layers: individual, social and systemic factors (Schrögel et al. 2018).

In this talk, we are going to introduce the typology and present qualitative and quantitative data to corroborate it. The quantitative data are based on an analysis of the representative survey on societal attitudes and opinions on science “Wissenschaftsbarometer” in Germany. The qualitative data stem from interviews with three underrepresented audiences, which have been chosen as exemplary case studies: Muslim youths with a migration background, socially disadvantaged people in marginalized neighbourhoods and students in a vocational school. Both types of data show the impact of the factors and make the exclusion effects visible.

The typology allows science communication practitioners to address exclusion mechanisms and might be a useful framework for researchers investigating inclusion and diversity in science communication.


Bultitude, K. (2014). Science festivals: Do they succeed in reaching beyond the ‘already engaged’? Journal of Science Communication, 13(04), 1–3.

Dawson, E. (2019). Equity, Exclusion & Everyday Science Learning. The experiences of minoritised groups. Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge.

Schrögel, P., Humm, C., et al. (2018). Nicht erreichte Zielgruppen in der Wissenschaftskommunikation: Literatur-Review zu Exklusionsfaktoren und Analyse von Fallbeispielen [„Science for All“ Interim report]. URL:

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

Presentation type: Insight talk
Theme: Transformation