Teaching scientists to communicate: developing science communication training based on scientists’ knowledge and self-reflectiveness

Jean A. Parrella, T. J. Koswatta, H. R. Leggette, S. Ramasubramanian, T. Rutherford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Guided by the theory of planned behavior and the science communication learning goals model, we conducted a survey to identify science communication training needs of university scientists (n = 266) at a large US land-grant university. Results indicate that most respondents believed scientists and media relations offices were most responsible for communicating science to the public but only somewhat responsible for their learning of science communication or its outcomes. In addition, respondents who had higher levels of interest and enjoyment in science communication perceived their content knowledge to be higher and reflected on science communication concepts and processes better than respondents with lower levels of interest and enjoyment. We also found that scientists who participated in science communication training during the past three years enjoyed science communication more and were more likely to contribute than scientists who did not participate. Results suggest that communication training should focus on increasing scientists’ positive attitudes toward public engagement and motivating scientists to feel responsible for public engagement. Trainers should encourage scientists to share their communication experiences with colleagues, expose them to science communication resources, and help them recognize their individual role in the science communication process.

Keywords

  • Case study
  • curriculum
  • survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Communication

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