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ERIC Number: EJ1236475
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2154-8455
Casual Conversations in Everyday Spaces Can Promote High Public Engagement with Science
Stofer, Kathryn A.; Rujimora, James; Sblendorio, Danielle; Duqueney, Estherland; Tatineni, Meghana; Gaudier, Gabriela
International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, v9 n4 p296-311 2019
University researchers are asked to make their work relevant and accessible to people beyond their research fields, increasingly by undertaking public engagement with science themselves. However, academic outreach often only reaches an already-science-attentive audience through traditional museum visits or lecture-style presentations. Even programs designed to take advantage of public spaces may still pose barriers to non-traditional audiences, particularly in terms of time and money to attend. We designed a program to promote public engagement with science through casual conversations with pairs of scientists meeting public patrons in everyday and leisure spaces such as bars, coffeehouses, libraries, and laundromats, in both urban and rural locations. We conducted unobtrusive observations of these events at two time points as a case study and used thematic analysis to characterize the patterns of utterances, content of utterances, body positions, and object interactions with 29 groups. We found instances of high, medium, and low engagement, and describe characteristics of each type. We present example cases and suggest their use during professional development with scientists for public engagement and reflective practice. Overall, these conversations show promise for high public engagement with science and opportunities for true mutual learning between scientists and non-traditional public audiences.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: OCE1038990