Relevant to: Research
Summary: This study looks at researcher perceptions of people’s scientific knowledge and attitudes to science to assist in optimising engagement between researchers and the public.
In this article Carr et al undertook a study into researcher perceptions of people’s scientific knowledge and attitudes to science to assist in optimising engagement between researchers and the public. The authors undertook a survey of research scientists at the University of Western Australia, primarily using questions drawn from the Trends Factual Knowledge Questions (TFKQ) survey conducted regularly by the US National Science Foundation. The article likely will be of use to researchers from other institutions who are involved in or are considering public engagement on their research. The article is very limited in scope, focusing on just one university. It is therefore impossible to know whether the study findings are unique to that institution, or can be generalised to other bodies. A more comprehensive study across research institutions would have greatly enhanced the utility of this study. The authors suggest their research indicates scientists are to a large part unaware of how much the public knows about science or their attitude to science; there is considerable room for improvement in these areas; and improvements in these areas could facilitate more effective science communication and engagement with the public.
This article was developed from the following research article:
Carr, A.E., Grand, A. and Sullivan, M. (2017) Knowing Me, Knowing You. Science Communication 39(6): 771-781.