ERIC Number: ED217480
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: 0
Factors Influencing Scientists as Journalistic Sources.
Dunwoody, Sharon; Ryan, Michael
Journalists often find that scientists are particularly "difficult" news sources. One possible reason is that the structures within which scientists work do not encourage their members to get involved in the public dissemination of information. Using a national sample of both physical and social scientists, a study sought to discover if scientists themselves perceived the existence of any constraints in three different scientific structures: science itself as a social organization, scientific societies with which scientists are often affiliated, and institutions that employ scientists. Specifically, the following research questions were asked: (1) Do scientists perceive the structure of science as a social system to be a barrier? (2) Do scientists perceive the policies of scientific societies to constitute a barrier? and (3) Do scientists perceive the policies of organizations who employ them to be a barrier? Subjects were 456 scientists drawn from the reference work, "American Men and Women of Science." Responses to the survey showed that scientists seemed to perceive some of the structures within which they work to be barriers to their involvement in the public dissemination of information through the mass media. Both the social system of science and the scientific employer seemed to present barriers to many of the respondents. Many acknowledged the inadequacy of training programs in preparing scientists to deal with the media, and the priority that communicating with fellow scientists has over any obligation to get research findings into the public domain. Most importantly, responses indicated that scientists felt they had little to gain within science by engaging in the public dissemination of information. (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: News Sources
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (65th, Athens, OH, July 25-28, 1982).