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Public Understanding of Science

Tim Boon
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 4, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Estelle Dumas-Mallet, Aran Tajika, Andy Smith, Thomas Boraud, Toshiaki A Furukawa, François Gonon
News value theory rates geographical proximity as an important factor in the process of issue selection by journalists. But does this apply to science journalism? Previous observational studies investigating whether newspapers preferentially cover scientific studies involving national scientists have generated conflicting answers. Here we used a database of 123 biomedical studies, 113 of them involving at least one research team working in eight countries (Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States)...
October 29, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Jarrod L Green
Sound in space. Featherless dinosaurs. Physics-defying stunts. Unrealistic science in narrative fiction is often a subject of commentary and critique. However, there is limited research investigating the significance, risks and benefits of this discourse for audiences. This article analyses interviews and focus group discussions to develop a typology of functions that are served by audience discourse about the perceived realism of science in fiction. This typology illustrates how discourse about the realism of science in fiction can serve diverse functions for diverse audiences...
October 29, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Robert Meckin, Andrew Balmer
Public involvement in technological anticipation is a common feature of contemporary sociotechnical innovation. However, most engagements abstract sociotechnical futures, rather than situating them in the everyday practices in which people are routinely engaged. Recent developments in synthetic biology have established the potential for 'drop in' replacements for ingredients in consumer products, particularly in flavour and fragrance markets. This article explains how a sensory methodology can be used to explore citizens' everyday experiences and how these can be used to ground anticipation of possible sociotechnical futures...
October 25, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Melanie Goisauf, Anna P Durnová
While there is consensus on the essential importance of public engagement in further developments of biobanking, the related investigation of public views predominantly focused on the concerns expressed by the publics, and the concrete formats of public engagement, without delving into the ways these concerns are constituted. In this article, we summarize recent research on public engagement in order to describe the constitution of respective concerns as "engagement of knowledges." By shifting the focus of analysis from "publics" to "knowledges," we draw attention to the interaction dynamic through which citizens embed the new knowledge they receive during expert interactions into the stock of knowledge they already possess...
October 16, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Madeline Mitchell, Merryn McKinnon
This article examines contemporary representations of female and male scientists in The New York Times with a particular emphasis on stereotypes related to gender and science as a profession. The selected series of profiles is approximately proportional in its representation of women in science and generally gives a rounded and diverse picture of their subjects. Traditionally 'masculine' characteristics (e.g. individual drive and brilliance) as well as 'feminine' communal skills (e.g. collaboration, communication and teamwork) are attributed to both male and female scientists...
September 24, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Shupei Yuan, John C Besley, Anthony Dudo
This study investigated how communication scholars view scientists' public engagement as well as differences between how these scholars and natural and physical scientists think about the topic. The study used surveys of authors who recently published in five journals related to science communication alongside surveys of scientists from three prominent professional science societies. The results suggest that communication scholars ( N = 362) shared some views with the scientists ( N = 307, 373, 372) regarding scientists' performance, factors that influence engagement activities, and communication objectives, but potentially important differences were observed as well...
September 3, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Matthew Motta
While most Americans recognize the importance of funding scientific research, many are satisfied with status quo funding, and only a minority see a need for increased federal support. This poses a potential challenge to scientists' abilities to address complex policy problems, like climate change. Previous correlational research suggests that public opposition to science funding is (at least in part) the result of low levels of knowledge about the basics of science. Leveraging panel data from two nationally representative studies (2008-2014), I show that people who become more interested in science over time but not those who become more knowledgable are more likely to favor increasing public support for scientific research...
August 29, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Ilaria Ampollini
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Todd P Newman, Erik C Nisbet, Matthew C Nisbet
According to cultural cognition theory, individuals hold opinions about politically contested issues like climate change that are consistent with their "cultural way of life," conforming their opinions to how they think society should be organized and to what they perceive are the attitudes of their cultural peers. Yet despite dozens of cultural cognition studies, none have directly examined the role of the news media in facilitating these differential interpretations. To address this gap, drawing on a national survey of US adults administered in 2015, we statistically modeled the cultural cognition process in relation to news choices and media effects on public attitudes about climate change...
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Weirui Wang, Lei Guo
We investigate how the online news and Twitter framed the discussion about genetically modified mosquitoes, and the interplay between the two media platforms. The study is grounded in the theoretical frameworks of intermedia agenda setting, framing, and the issue-attention cycle and combines methods of manual and computational content analysis, and time series analysis. The findings show that the Twitter discussion was more benefit-oriented, while the news coverage was more balanced. Initially, Twitter played a leading role in framing the discussion about genetically modified mosquitoes...
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Esther Chan
Are the religious suspicious of science? Drawing on data from 52 nations in the World Values Survey (wave 6) ( N = 58,474), I utilize multilevel models to examine the relationship between religiosity, religious context, and five different orientations towards science: confidence in science, trust in scientific authority under conditions of conflict with religion, faith in science, views on the moral effects of science, and interest in scientific knowledge. Results show that while religiosity is on average negatively associated with the five outcomes, the relationship between religiosity and orientations towards science varies by country such that religiosity is sometimes positively associated with the different outcomes...
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Carla Almeida, Luisa Massarani
Genetically modified organisms have been at the centre of a major public controversy, involving different interests and actors. While much attention has been devoted to consumer views on genetically modified food, there have been few attempts to understand the perceptions of genetically modified technology among farmers. By investigating perceptions of genetically modified organisms among Brazilian farmers, we intend to contribute towards filling this gap and thereby add the views of this stakeholder group to the genetically modified debate...
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Jesper Lassen
'In the mid-1990s, a mismatch was addressed between European genetically modified food policy, which focused primarily on risks and economic prospects, and public anxieties, which also included other concerns, and there was a development in European food policy toward the inclusion of what were referred to as "ethical aspects." Using parliamentary debates in Denmark in 2002 and 2015 as a case, this article examines how three storylines of concern that were visible in public discourse at the time were represented by the decision makers in parliament...
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
William L Allen
Researchers increasingly use visualisation to make sense of their data and communicate findings more widely. But these are not necessarily straightforward processes. Theories of knowledge brokerage show how sociopolitical contexts and intermediary organisations that translate research for public audiences shape how users engage with evidence. Applying these ideas to data visualisation, I argue that several kinds of brokers (such as data collectors, designers and intermediaries) link researchers and audiences, contributing to the ways that people engage with visualisations...
November 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Emily Dawson
This article explores science communication from the perspective of those most at risk of exclusion, drawing on ethnographic fieldwork. I conducted five focus groups and 32 interviews with participants from low-income, minority ethnic backgrounds. Using theories of social reproduction and social justice, I argue that participation in science communication is marked by structural inequalities (particularly ethnicity and class) in two ways. First, participants' involvement in science communication practices was narrow (limited to science media consumption)...
October 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Naoko Kato-Nitta, Tadahiko Maeda, Kensuke Iwahashi, Masashi Tachikawa
Despite the promotion of public engagement in science, there has been little empirical research on the sociocultural and attitudinal characteristics of participants in science communication activities and the extent to which such individuals are representative of the general population. We statistically investigated the distinctiveness of visitors to a scientific research institution by contrasting samples from visitor surveys and nationally representative surveys. The visitors had more cultural capital (science and technology/art and literature) and believed more in the value of science than the general public, but there was no difference regarding assessment of the levels of national science or of the national economy...
October 2018: Public Understanding of Science
Katarina Winter
Arenas where experts interact with publics are useful platforms for communication and interaction between actors in the field of public health: researchers, practitioners, clinicians, patients, and laypersons. Such coalitions are central to the analysis of knowledge coproduction. This study investigates an initiative for assembling expert and other significant knowledge which seeks to create better interventions and solutions to addiction-related problems, in this case codependency. But what and whose knowledge is communicated, and how? The study explores how processes of repetition, claim-coupling, and enthusiasm produce a community based on three boundary beliefs: (1) victimized codependent children failed by an impaired society; (2) the power of daring and sharing; and (3) the (brain) disease model as the scientific representative and explanation for (co)dependence...
August 3, 2018: Public Understanding of Science
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