Authenticity and Credibility in Science Communication Design: A Rhetorical Approach

Design Issues ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 37 (4) ◽  
pp. 59-71
Annina Schneller

Abstract The communication of scientific knowledge is traditionally oriented towards objective truth and facts, and builds on the authority of science. This article argues that, besides or even opposite to these aims, creating authenticity has become a major factor of successful science communication. Conveying a “personal touch,” or giving the audience a feeling of “being real,” are crucial promoters of credibility. Significant methods of gaining trust and sympathy on the level of textual as well as visual presentation are disclosed by exploring a bestselling popular scientific book, and with references to ancient rhetorical texts.

2020 ◽  
Vol 8 (1) ◽  
pp. 177-190 ◽  
Philipp Niemann ◽  
Laura Bittner ◽  
Philipp Schrögel ◽  
Christiane Hauser

Science slams are a prominent form of science communication especially in Germany that seeks to entertain. While some view science slams as an excellent vehicle for disseminating knowledge, others argue that the imperative to entertain undermines the scientific value of this form of presentation. Drawing on empirical data from three science slam events, this explorative study examines how audiences and presenters perceive the science slam, particularly as it relates to entertainment and the communication of scientific knowledge. Our multi-method analysis includes audience surveys (n = 469), an eye-tracking study, and interviews with science slammers (n = 18). Our results show that the main reason audiences attend a science slam is for entertainment, yet they also have a strong interest in scientific content. Assessing the slammers’ aspirations concerning the audience, we find entertainment to be an important part, but the motivation to impart scientific knowledge is key for most. When asked to evaluate individual presentations (n = 20), spectators tended to rate both the entertainment and scientific value of the presentations as high. However, in terms of visual attention within individual presentations, spectators spent more time considering scientific content than entertainment content. Overall, we do not find evidence for the common claim that the focus on entertainment undermines the scientific value of science slam presentations—rather, entertainment and scientific content are combined to produce “edutainment” in a positive sense.

2019 ◽  
Vol 18 (05) ◽  
pp. A04 ◽  
Kaitlyn Martin ◽  
Lloyd Davis ◽  
Susan Sandretto

Student engagement is an important predictor of choosing science-related careers and establishing a scientifically literate society: and, worryingly, it is on the decline internationally. Conceptions of science are strongly affected by school experience, so one strategy is to bring successful science communication strategies to the classroom. Through a project creating short science films on mobile devices, students' engagement greatly increased through collaborative learning and the storytelling process. Teachers were also able to achieve cross-curricular goals between science, technology, and literacy. We argue that empowering adolescents as storytellers, rather than storylisteners, is an effective method to increase engagement with science.

2021 ◽  
Vol 20 (03) ◽  
pp. A08
Sonia Brondi ◽  
Giuseppe Pellegrini ◽  
Peter Guran ◽  
Martin Fero ◽  
Andrea Rubin

This paper investigates the dimensions of trust and the role of information sources and channels in developing differentiated forms of science communication. The discussions from two public consultations carried out in Italy and Slovakia about controversial science-related topics were quali-quantitatively content analysed. The results show that scientific knowledge pervades diverse communication spheres, producing differentiated paths of trust in science. Each path is determined by topics (environment or health-related), information sources and channels preferred, and specific features of the multifaceted notion of trust. The contribution discusses cross-national commonalities and specificities and proposes implications for science communication.

Joseph Hilgard ◽  
Nan Li

This synthesis chapter recapitulates the major themes of Part I. The chapter proposes that science communication is challenging because science is complex, because humans interpret evidence in biased ways, and because the science–media landscape is shifting. Consequently, the mere supply of scientific information alone is not likely to guide audiences to science-consistent beliefs. Instead, science communicators must learn to navigate both the cultural implications of their work and the heuristics audiences use when deciding whom to trust. Consideration must be given to scientific knowledge and the audience’s values alike. A science of science communication provides an understanding of these multiple considerations and promotes effective dialogue between scientists and the public.

2019 ◽  
Vol 11 (22) ◽  
Graziele Scalfi ◽  
Germana Barata

This paper examine children books about Brazilian fauna, especially those whose content reveals a potential for science communication. The research was conducted in Brazilian publishers, bookstores and in the Google search engine for books, using the keywords “animals”, “Brazilian animals” and “national fauna”. The content and descriptive analysis was performed in 24 books that presentedwild animals in their natural habitat and portrayed realistically to verify the strategies used in the dissemination of animal biology, focusing on language, content and images.There is a significant number of books about Brazilian animals for children (199), but few are available for purchase (61). Only seven were considered adequate to disseminate animal science, indicating that few books associate scientific knowledge with quality text, bringing together information and aesthetics of the word, as well as beautiful and attractive illustrations. However, all titles play an important role in the popularization of native species.

Marta Pulido-Salgado ◽  
Fátima Antonethe Castaneda Mena

Scientific knowledge should be shared beyond academic circles in order to promote science in policymaking. Science communication increases the understanding of how the natural world works and the capacity to make informed decisions. However, not every researcher has the ability to master the art of communicating, and even less in a clear, concise, and easy to understand language that society representatives appreciate. Within the huge and extraordinarily diverse Latin American region, science communication has been going on for at least 200 years, when the first science stories appeared in the newspapers, as well as the first science museums and botanical gardens were founded. Nevertheless, resources are limited, and notably time, which researchers spend mostly in mentoring, ensuring funding, publication of their results and laboratory work, while science journalists are an endangered species. This perspective article aims at providing some recommendations to build bridges between science and decision-making parties through communication, by exploring how Latin American diplomats and policymakers engage with scientific knowledge.

2009 ◽  
Vol 08 (01) ◽  
pp. C01 ◽  
Donato Ramani

Science, politics, industry, media, state-run and private organisations, private citizens: everyone has their own demands, their own heritage of knowledge, thoughts, opinions, aspirations, needs. Different worlds that interact, question one another, discuss; in one word: they communicate. It is a complicated process that requires professionals «who clearly understand the key aspects of the transmission of scientific knowledge to society through the different essential communication channels for multiple organizations». The purpose of this commentary is to cast some light upon the goals, the philosophy and the organisation behind some European and extra-European Master’s degrees in science communication. We have asked the directors of each of them to describe their founding elements, their origins, their specific features, their structure, their goals, the reasons why they were established and the evolution they have seen over their history.

2020 ◽  
Bastiaan T Rutjens ◽  
Esther Niehoff ◽  
Steven Heine

Recent years have not only seen growing public distrust in science, but also in the people conducting science. Yet, attitudes toward scientists remain largely unexplored, and the limited body of literature that exists points to an interesting ambivalence. While survey data suggest scientists to be highly respected, research has found scientists to be perceived as capable of immoral behavior. We report two experiments aimed at identifying what contributes to this ambivalence through systematic investigations of stereotypical perceptions of scientists. In these studies, we particularly focus on two potential sources of inconsistencies in previous work: divergent operationalizations of morality (measurement effects), and different specifications of the broad group of scientists (framing effects). Results show that scientists are generally perceived as more likely to violate binding as opposed to individualizing moral foundations, and that they deviate from control groups more strongly on the latter. The extent to which different morality measures reflect the differentiation between binding and individualizing moral foundations at least partially accounts for previous contradictory findings. Moreover, the results indicate large variation in perceptions of different types of scientists: People hold more positive attitudes toward university-affiliated scientists as compared to industry-affiliated scientists, with perceptions of the ‘typical scientist’ more closely resembling the latter. Taken together, the findings have important academic ramifications for science skepticism, morality, and stereotyping research as well as valuable practical implications for successful science communication.

2017 ◽  
Vol 27 (5) ◽  
pp. 578-593 ◽  
Jeong-Heon Chang ◽  
Sei-Hill Kim ◽  
Myung-Hyun Kang ◽  
Jae Chul Shim ◽  
Dong Hoon Ma

Using data from a national survey of South Koreans, this study explores the role of science communication in enhancing three different forms of scientific knowledge ( factual, procedural, and subjective). We first assess learning effects, looking at the extent to which citizens learn science from different channels of communication (interpersonal discussions, traditional newspapers, television, online newspapers, and social media). We then look into the knowledge gap hypothesis, investigating how different communication channels can either widen or narrow the gap in knowledge between social classes. Television was found to function as a “knowledge leveler,” narrowing the gap between highly and less educated South Koreans. The role of online newspapers in science learning is pronounced in our research. Reading newspapers online indicated a positive relationship to all three measures of knowledge. Contrary to the knowledge-leveling effect of television viewing, reading online newspapers was found to increase, rather than decrease, the gap in knowledge. Implications of our findings are discussed in detail.

Sign in / Sign up

Export Citation Format

Share Document