Monday, May 17, 2010

Science communication reconsidered

I found it interesting that in this article, near the end, while reccommendations are being made for how Scientists can better communicate with lay audiences, that they pointed out that while encouraging public forms of discourse; the drive for doing so needs to come from "an honest effort in relationship and trust building rather than persuasion", and that active participation should also be fostered.

This was interesting to me, because they talk a lot about framing, which is a form of persuasion, whether intended or not, it allows for a set of actions to be viewed through a lens, or perspective, which has been derived by someone other than the observer/participant.

Regarding the need for the lay public to become involved in science in the making, I think it is difficult to really measure whether we need to be doing more or not. The bloggosphere, while some of it may not be as credible as peer reviewed, cited sources, does provide for quite a bit of discussion on a wide range of topics. I have even observed many of these which stemmed from major news outlets who posed the original story in their science sections.

I'm not quite sure what to make of the fact that these authors seem to be asking for PR help. I think that in some of the examples where they talked about stakeholders disseminating information (those who are highly invested in the product, or those who are vehemently opposed) either side would lobby just as hard for change, and would employ any sort of PR firm or shadow organization to do their bidding/framing.

Then, we all get to sort it out and decide for ourselves who is right or wrong. Hence the importance of critical inquiry, which seems to be taught only through higher education these days.

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