Alex Gerber Profile picture
8 Jan, 25 tweets, 23 min read
[1/20] Let me share the main findings and recommendations from our in-depth empirical analysis of the #science #communication #research field in this thread on: 1 Goals, 2 Methods, 3 Trends, 4 Challenges, 5 Research Gaps, 6 Recommendations >> #SciComm Image
[2/20] Goal: investigate trends in #SciComm #research over the decades globally; identify opportunities / challenges / gaps; make research & policy recommendations. The Field Analysis is available freely #OpenAcces >> as an e-book & audio-book -- #WissKomm
[3/20] We triangulated a content analysis of 3,000 journal papers with a review of grey literature spanning four decades, and a multi-stage panel study (qual. interviews with 36 experts representing the international and disciplinary field). Image
[4/20] Journal sample defined by the 36 experts: the 3 core #SciComm journals @SciPublic @SAGEmedia_comm @JsciCOM and @NatureNews, @ScienceMagazine, @sciam. Dozens of other options. Reliability of analyses confirmed via K’alpha. >> Image
[5/20] 36 experts interviewed twice on trends, gaps, and future recommendations for #SciComm #research, also reflecting our bibliometric analyses. Numerous quotes in the #OpenAcces e-book and audio-book >> -- #SciEngage #Wissenschaftskommunikation Image
[6/20] #SciComm is comparatively diverse, both in research & practice, due to the variety of institutions & disciplines, techniques & objectives. Many experts (e.g. @emilyadawson) assume that there is a perceived lack of theoretical framing. >> #SciEngage
[7/20] Public understanding and media studies dominate publications. More research into publics, #SciComm actors and behavioral change would likely liberate knowledge of the dynamics / processes between science and changing socio-political / cultural landscapes.
[8/20] Only 3% of #SciComm #research studies are longitudinal, and half of those looked into print media; one quarter focused on beliefs, perceptions or values. Experts (e.g. @e_weitkamps) argue that longitudinal is more difficult to conduct and get funded.
[9/20] #SciComm research focuses still and even increasingly on the disciplines Biology and Ecology. Read more on ways to widen the perspective, incl. humanities, arts, and the social sciences. >> (p. 25f; 51) Image
[10/20] #SciComm #research has mostly studied the ‘general public’ (31%) or scientists (19%); no other cluster above 8%. More important stakeholders to be analysed: marginalized groups, indigenous or senior citizens, etc. >> (p. 31; 51)
[11/20] 41% of #SciComm publications are likely to just refer to theory, but do not develop any. Experts (e.g. @JoanLeachCPAS) miss a higher-level conceptual thinking that ties together theoretical frameworks of our field. >> (p.27)
[12/20] Some experts (e.g. @emilyadawson) had to laugh when seeing that surveys are still the dominant #methodology -- and very little change in the past decades. Are the methodological skill-sets even too limited, e.g. in big data and #statistics? (p. 34; 52f) Image
[13/20] #Qualitative and #quantitative approaches in #SciComm #research increasingly mixed, yet still with little innovation in methods. Some experts see improvements, e.g. @MejlgaardNiels: “Unfertile isolation of quant and qual has levelled off in some way.” (p. 35f)
[14/20] Researchers & Practitioners could benefit from exchanging and synthesizing information and ideas, testing realistic / pragmatic hypotheses. @scheufele: #SciComm needs an applied footprint to be relevant. >> (p. 36ff; 54) Image
[15/20] The proportion of systematic reviews in #SciComm (among all papers) keeps declining (14% before 2000; 10% after 2000). Experts (e.g. @BNerlich) explain this with a lack of funding and academic reward. Such meta-analyses could foster praxis. (p. 17f; 54)
[16/20] Most of #SciComm #research still cross-sectional. The Field Analysis therefore suggests more ‘horizontal’ systems approaches to understand how contents & channels, actors & audiences interrelate. >> (p. 53)
[17/20] Over half a century, #SciComm #research has become more internationally diverse: today’s authors are from four times as many countries as pre-1995. Europe has long overtaken the US: 51% vs. 29%. (p. 19)
[18/20] This analysis of past patterns and future trends in #SciComm #research is a calling for more praxis and collaboration across disciplines and cultures. See also our Manifesto for Evidence-base SciComm:… w/ @JensenWarwick.
[20/20] The main clusters of research gaps: Changes in information behaviour and attitude-formation; Rapidly changing and disintermediating systems; Evaluation of comms impacts on science policy; Institutional governance of #SciComm (p. 40ff). Image
Funding disclaimer: This study was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (@BMBF_Bund). The project was led by prof. Alexander Gerber (@inscico).
SAVE THE DATE for an Online Symposium about our #SciComm #research Field Analysis, with several of the 36 experts from the study and beyond. Mon 18th Jan, 4.30 pm CET | 10.30 am EST. RSVP:… (or message me directly)
A second online event for the more 'eastern' (Asia-Pacific) time-zones is being planned separately. #SciCommSci
Honoured to be joined by three renowned fellow #SciComm profs as discussants for the webinar on Monday: Ayelet Baram-Tsabari (@ayelet_bt), Emily Dawson (@emilyadawson), Bruce Lewenstein (@BLewenstein).…

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