Quantitative approaches to complement understanding in science communication activities

Quantitative approaches to complement understanding in science communication activities

Author: Rodolfo Bezzon – University of Sao Paulo, Brazil


  • Alessandra Bizerra – University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Most works using Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) tend to fall on the qualitative side of the research approach continuum, because this theoretical framework emphasizes a deep analysis of the cultural-historical context in which the individual is immersed and also an analysis of her/his activity in this context and, considering the methodological characteristics of the qualitative methods, they do fulfill these requirements more easily. Nonetheless, quantitative research is also necessary to better understand the problem being investigated, because quantitative methods shed light in ways that qualitative cannot. Although we agree that a precise distinction between both methods is unnecessary, we do believe that there are characteristics in their strategies that are worth to keep in mind and that some researches and papers abstain themselves of the bigger debate: the theoretical lens they are using. The theoretical framework is the one that will guide the researchers throughout the process and signify their results, support their analyses and, in some cases, even determine which questions can be asked. Despite all that, some researchers do not make it clear which theoretical lens they are using, they simply jump straight forward to the methodology and, thus, undermine the consistency of their own work. In this sense, our research group is trying to develop new ways to work with CHAT in science communication activities, especially in quantitative approaches, for two main reasons: 1) make our analysis more robust, by adding different research approaches we can analyze the problem through different angles; 2) develop CHAT and test the theory’s limits and possibilities in science communication comprehension. So right now, we are trying to find ways to make our questionnaire dialogue with CHAT and thus build up a more coherent analysis of science communication perceptions and practices in different cultural-historical contexts.

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Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Transformation