evaluations of science communication

Hi ASCers, particularly those involved in the recent discussion about the evaluation of science communication…

I’m in the process of finishing my thesis, which includes a chapter on evaluating science communication events and programs. I’d like to use a couple of quotes from this recent discussion in that chapter. I know that this email list is public domain given it’s available on the ASC website (http://www.asc.asn.au/section/list/).

However given that I’d be referencing specific people’s emails, I wanted to check whether anyone *doesn’t* want me to use their contribution to the discussion as a reference. If you’d prefer not to be cited, just let me know.

Also, I think it’s great to see this being discussed on the ASC list after the topic gained some momentum at the national conference in January. We talked about it in the session I presented at, which Kristin Alford blogged about here: http://bridge8.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/tools-for-democracy-and-dialogue-in-science/

I think her dot-point summary from that includes some useful questions for evaluations:

“So what have we learnt about engaging everyone? First we need to do something! More events! No! The first thing is to think more strategically about the following questions: – What is our objective we expect to fulfill through this activity? – Who’s your target audience? – What do they need in terms of information and understanding of the science? – What do they want by joining in? (And this can be quite different from what we think they need.) – How can our audience inform us? What do we want to know from them? And then we can suitably alter the approach and the framing of the activity to ensure that we are able to engage with a broader cross-section of the population on their terms.”

Also, I wouldn’t mind enhancing another of my chapters on *who* participates in science communication with some quotes from other professional science communicators, so if you’d like to respond on this list with some thoughts on that I might cite you as well. I’m most interested in how participants for science engagement events are attracted/recruited, and how much thought is given to catering events to different types of people.

While I’m at it, if you’d like to share any references to evaluations of Australian science communication events and programs I’d appreciate it, in case I haven’t come across them yet. You can browse my existing references here if you like (but by all means just suggest a link without checking, as I’d rather have someone suggest something I’ve already included than not at all, and searching the collection can be unfruitful): http://www.citeulike.org/user/cobi


Cobi Smith Centre for the Public Awareness of Science Australian National University email: cobi.smith@anu.edu.au web: http://cpas.anu.edu.au/people/cobi_smith/ Note: I’m in South America now, so if you’d like to contact me please stick to email.

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