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Abstract Detail

President's Symposia - Understanding the Crisis in Science Literacy: The BSA is Planting Science in the 21st Century

Scheufele, Dietram [1].

The science of communication.

Communicating with a public that is largely unaware of emerging issues related to science and technology needs to be based on a systematic empirical understanding of public levels of information, awareness, and attitudes. Unfortunately, many communication and outreach efforts have been based on ad-hoc, intuition-driven approaches, paying little attention to recent empirical research in science communication.
This talk will provide an overview of what we know from recent communication research about how the public agenda gets set, and about how messages affect different segments of the public. It will highlight communication failures from previous science-related or environmental debates. Based on these failures, it is clear that more systematic approaches to communicating about science are not about swaying public opinion, but rather understanding informational deficits or concerns and addressing them effectively from a scientific perspective.
Finally, this talk will discuss some of the ethical dilemmas connected to strategically communicating about science in order to reach uninvolved or hard-to-reach audiences. Is it appropriate, for instance, to use strategic communication in order to make scientific issues more relevant to a general public? And should we take advantage of communication tools that can also be used to spread what some would call “misinformation?”

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Related Links:
Scheufele's homepage at UW-Madison

1 - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Life Sciences Communication, 309 Hiram Smith Hall, 1545 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, USA

science communication
communication research
strategic communication

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: S10
Location: 182/I K Barber
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
Time: 2:25 PM
Number: S10003
Abstract ID:1096

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