Communication - Monographs, Research and Papers

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This is a collection of monographs, papers and research in the area of Communications.


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    Supporting activism in Latin America: the role of science communication, science journalism, and NGOs in socio-environmental conflicts
    Lopes de Oliveira, Diogo; Lewenstein, Bruce V. (Journalism Studies (journal, published by Taylor & Francis), 2023-08-07)
    This exploratory paper addresses the relationship of science journalism, science communication, environmental activism, and social movements. It draws on data from Latin America, exploring how journalists and activists use science communication as a tool for telling stories about environmental conflicts that frequently turn violent (more than 1600 land and environmental activists lost their lives between 2002 and 2020 in Latin America, more than three times that of all other regions of the world combined). The main goal of the paper is to understand how scientific storytelling by NGOs helps them present their points of view for journalists and to influence public opinion. Our data is drawn from the formal reports of four NGOs and from semi-structured interviews with representatives from each NGO’s staff about their use of science communication. Our analysis suggests that Latin American NGOs use science communication tools such as scientific storytelling and scientific explanation to support journalists and to communicate with broad publics about complex phenomena such as socio-environmental conflicts, contributing to efforts to reduce the alarming amount of violence in the region.
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    Workshop Report: Implementing a Science Journalism Curriculum in Arabic-Speaking Countries
    Lewenstein, Bruce (2011-09-11)
    This report provides information on a UNESCO-sponsored workshop “Implementing a Science Journalism Curriculum in the Arab World,” held 26 June 2011 in Doha, Qatar, in conjunction with the World Conference on Science Journalism. Approximately 40 people attended the workshop, from about a dozen countries. The agenda covered both reports on previous efforts to implement a science journalism curriculum in the developing world, as well as identification of specific recommendations for implementation of a curriculum. A press conference was held on 28 June 2011 announcing the key findings of the workshop, leading to several stories.
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    Data From: Evidence-Based Message Strategies to Increase Public Support for State Investment in Early Childhood Education: Results from a Longitudinal Panel Experiment
    Niederdeppe, Jeff; Winett, Liana B.; Xu, Yiwei; Fowler, Erika Franklin; Gollust, Sarah E. (2021)
    Context: Early childhood education (ECE) programs enhance the health and social wellbeing of children and families. This preregistered, randomized, controlled study tested the effectiveness of communication strategies to increase public support for state investments in affordable, accessible and high-quality child care for all. Methods: At time1 (August-September 2019), we randomly assigned members of an online research panel (n = 4,363) to read one of four messages promoting state investment in child care policies and programs, or to a no-exposure control group. Messages included an argument-based message (“simple pro-policy”), a message preparing audiences for encountering and building resistance to opposing messages (“inoculation”), a story illustrating the structural nature of the problem and solution (“narrative”), and both inoculation and narrative messages (“combined”). At time 2 (two weeks later) a subset of respondents (n = 1,436) read an oppositional anti-policy message and, in two conditions, another narrative or inoculation message. Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression compared groups in levels of support for state investment in child care policies and programs. Findings: As hypothesized, those who read the narrative message had higher support for state investment in child care policies than those who read the inoculation message or those in the no-exposure control group at time 1. Among respondents who were initially opposed to such investments, those who read the narrative had greater support than respondents who read the simple pro-policy message. Those who received the inoculation message at time 2 were more resistant to the anti-policy message than respondents who did not receive such a message, but effects from exposures to strategic messages at time 1 did not persist at follow-up. Conclusions: Results offer guidance for those seeking to increase public support for early childhood policies and programs and could inform broader efforts to promote high-value polices with potential to improve population health.
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    When Science Meets the Public: Proceedings of a Workshop Organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Committee on Public Understanding of Science and Technology, February 17, 1991, Washington, DC
    Lewenstein, Bruce (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1992)
    Proceedings of a workshop on "When Science Meets the Public," held at annual conference of American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC, 17 February 1991. Contributions from: Sheila Grinnell; Bruce V. Lewenstein; Philip Morrison; John Ziman; Valerie Crane; Marcel C. LaFollette; Brian Wynne; Kara L. Marchman and Janine Jason; Eve R. Hall, Shalom M. Fisch, and Edward T. Esty; Sharon Dunwoody; Jonathan Ward; Libby Palmer; Tom Siegfried; Robert Sullivan; Katherine E. Rowan; Shirley M. Malcom; Patricia S. Curlin
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    Science Communication Training: What are We Trying to Teach?
    Baram-Tsabari, Ayelet; Lewenstein, Bruce (2017)
    The rapid growth in public communication of science and technology has led to a highly diverse and large number of training programs. Using a learning-centered approach, we ask: What are the learning goals of science communication training? As the science communication field matures, a comprehensive set of learning goals for future trainings will draw fully from the range of fields that contribute to it. Learning goals provide a framework for deciding what to count as success and how to gather evidence of learning. Based on the six strands of learning developed for “learning science in informal environments”, we built a conceptually-coherent definition of science communication learning that addresses affective issues, content knowledge, methods, reflection, participation, and identity. We then reviewed dozens of research articles describing science communication training for scientists, identifying both explicit and implicit learning goals. Classifying them with our conceptual definition, we identified gaps in the outcomes commonly used for training programs; these gaps appeared especially in the areas of affective learning and identity formation. We do not expect any one program would attempt to achieve all learning goals. Different courses might be tailored differently for training scientists who remain in science, who wish to become journalists, who wish to work for museums, etc. But we believe that conceptual coherence can help course designers identify important goals. Creating a common language will increase the ability to compare outcomes across courses and programs, identifying approaches that best fit particular education, training, and communication contexts.
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    Models of public communication of science and technology
    Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2003-06-16)
    Science journalism, science museums, community outreach programs about science – all these forms of "public communication of science and technology" have a long history. But little is understood about the systematic differences between the goals and possibilities of different kinds of projects. This working papger identifies four key models that have been used to describe public communication activities: deficit model, contextual model, lay expertise model, and public participation model. It also identifies problems both within the models and with attempts to fit all activities into this particular set of models. It suggests both new areas for research and new possibilities for outreach.
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    Expertise, democracy, and science communication
    Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2016-04-26)
    This paper presents an argument for the essential intertwining of expertise, democracy, and science communication.
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    Framing Annotation Data for News Articles
    Baumer, Eric P. S.; Elovic, Elisha; Qin, Ying; Polletta, Francesca; Gay, Geri (North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL), 2015)
    These data were collected from Mechanical Turk workers ( and students at two research universities who were asked to highlight the words and phrases related to framing in political news articles.
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    Modelos de comprensión pública: la política de la participación pública (Models of Public Understanding: The Politics of Public Engagement)
    Lewenstein, Bruce V. (University of Salamanca, 2010-12)
    In this paper, I will highlight some of the assumptions underlying the new language and approach in the field of science communication, –that is, the language of public engagement or social appropriation. My goal is to show how an understanding of the political implications of different models of science communication can help us negotiate the relationships of power and authority that are at stake. Recognizing the political complexity of the public engagement context can help in identifying the scholarly questions that need to be explored, as well as the more practical questions that need to be asked in evaluations of particular events, activities, and institutions.
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    What does citizen science accomplish
    Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2004-06-08)
    The terms "citizen science" and "citizen scientist" have at least three meanings: (1) the participation of nonscientists in the process of gathering data according to specific scientific protocols and in the process of using and interpreting that data; (2) the engagement of nonscientists in true decision-making about policy issues that have technical or scientific components; and (3) the engagement of research scientists in the democratic and policy process. Looking just at the first definition, proponents of citizen science argue that it engages nonscientists in the scientific process, making them direct participants in the creation of reliable knowledge about the natural world. From an S&TS perspective, many statements in the preceding paragraph pose problems. What is meant by "engagement"? Can we distinguish between the "technical," "scientific," and "policy" components of a decision? How much social process is hidden by the phrase "specific scientific protocols"? What is meant by "the scientific process"? What constitutes "reliable knowledge"? What is the "natural world" and how does it differ from other conceptions such as the "social world"? In this paper, I will use attempts to define the "outcome" of several specific citizen science projects at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology as a case for exploring the meanings of these various phrases. I will suggest that defining "success" for citizen science projects requires, in part, that the scientific community that supports citizen science must leave behind its Mertonian ideals about the independence of science and adopt instead S&TS-inspired conceptions of the social embeddedness of scientific knowledge.