Advertisement

RAw Communications and Engagement (RACE): Teaching Science Communication Through Modular Design

  • Martin McHugh
  • Sarah Hayes
  • Aimee Stapleton
  • Felix M. HoEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This project is motivated by an increasing demand from public bodies and research funding agencies for outreach and public engagement, believing this to be a path towards enhanced public understanding, recruitment and research with impact. Yet many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates and professionals lack the appropriate communication skills required to engage with the public. To address some of these issues, the project RACE (RAw Communication and Engagement) was jointly initiated by universities and industrial partners across Europe. Through the design and implementation of adaptable modules incorporating content knowledge, scientific communication and public engagement skills, this international project aims to equip students and researchers alike to ground their work within the wider global society and communicate their research with public audiences. A key feature is the direct incorporation of actual public engagement activities into RACE modules, for the mutual benefit of participants and wider society. Given this, the chapter will take a practitioner perspective to shed light on the inner workings of a modular scientific communication course. Core issues of engagement, bridging theory and practice, evaluation and collaboration are all highlighted through reflections and research data from implementing the RACE programme as a Ph.D. summer school with doctoral-level students. The chapter is concluded by bringing forward core teaching and learning protocols that are integral to running the RACE programme.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This project is funded by the EIT Raw Materials KIC Project 15028, No. FPA 2016/EIT/EIT Raw Materials. This publication has also received support through the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre, which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund under Grant 12/RC/2275, as well as the Centre for Discipline-Based Education Research in Mathematics, Engineering, Science and Technology (MINT) at Uppsala University. We would also like to thank the significant contribution of Prof. Daniel Brandell, Uppsala University, and Dr. Paul McCrory of Learn Differently Ltd. in the implementation of the project.

References

  1. Baram-Tsabari, A., & Lewenstein, B. V. (2017). Science communication training: What are we trying to teach? International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 7(3), 285–300.  https://doi.org/10.1080/21548455.2017.1303756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barker, N. C. (2002). Foundations in qualitative methods. In C. Barker, N. Pistrang, & R. Elliott (Eds.), Research methods in clinical psychology: An introduction for students and practitioners (pp. 5–72). Chichester, UK: Wiley London.Google Scholar
  3. Bauer, M. W., & Jensen, P. (2011). The mobilization of scientists for public engagement. Public Understanding of Science, 20(1), 3–11.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662510394457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bauer, M. W., & Suerdem, A. (2016). Developing science culture indicators through text mining and online media monitoring. In OECD Blue Sky Forum on Science and Innovation Indicators 2016, 19–21 September 2016. Ghent, Belgium: OECD.Google Scholar
  5. Besley, J. C., Dudo, A. D., Yuan, S., & Abi Ghannam, N. (2016). Qualitative interviews with science communication trainers about communication objectives and goals. Science Communication, 38(3), 356–381.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1075547016645640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blonder, R., Rap, S., Zemler, E., &. Rosenfeld, S. (2017). Assessing attitudes about responsible research and innovation (RRI): The development and use of a questionnaire. Sisyphus Journal of Education, 5(3), 122–156.Google Scholar
  7. Bray, B., France, B., & Gilbert, J. K. (2012). Identifying the essential elements of effective science communication: What do the experts say? International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 2(1), 23–41.  https://doi.org/10.1080/21548455.2011.611627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bromme, R., Thomm, E., & Wolf, V. (2015). From understanding to deference: Laypersons’ and medical students’ views on conflicts within medicine. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 5(1), 68–91.  https://doi.org/10.1080/21548455.2013.849017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bultitude, K. (2011). The why and how of science communication. In P. Rosulek (Ed.), Science communication (pp. 31–58). Pilsen: European Commission https://www.scifode-foundation.org/attachments/article/38/Karen_Bultitude_-_Science_Communication_Why_and_How.pdf. Accessed December 2018.
  10. Clarke, V., & Braun, V. (2013). Teaching thematic analysis: Overcoming challenges and developing strategies for effective learning. The psychologist, 26(2), 120–123. http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/21155/.
  11. Cleaves, A. (2005). The formation of science choices in secondary school. International Journal of Science Education, 27(4), 471–486.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0950069042000323746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011). Research methods in education. London; New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Crouch, C., Fagen, A. P., Callan, J. P., & Mazur, E. (2004). Classroom demonstrations: Learning tools or entertainment? American Journal of Physics, 72(6), 835–838.  https://doi.org/10.1119/1.1707018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dillon, J. (2009). On scientific literacy and curriculum reform. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 4(3), 201–213.Google Scholar
  15. Duschl, R. A., Schweingruber, H. A., & Shouse, A. W. (Eds.). (2007). Taking science to school: Learning and teaching science in grades K-8. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.  https://doi.org/10.17226/11625.
  16. Edmondston, J., & Dawson, V. (2014). Perspectives of science communication training held by lecturers of biotechnology and science communication. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 4(2), 195–210.  https://doi.org/10.1080/21548455.2013.793433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Entradas, M., & Bauer, M. M. (2017). Mobilisation for public engagement: Benchmarking the practices of research institutes. Public Understanding of Science, 26(7), 771–788.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662516633834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. European Commission. (2014). Responsible research and innovation: Europe’s ability to respond to societal challenges. https://ec.europa.eu/research/swafs/pdf/pub_rri/KI0214595ENC.pdf. Accessed November 25, 2018.
  19. Gago, J. M., Ziman, J., Caro, P., Constantinou, C., Davies, G., Parchmann, I., et al., (2004). Increasing human resources for science and technology in Europe. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  20. Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Oxford: Further Education Unit Oxford Brookes. https://thoughtsmostlyaboutlearning.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/learning-by-doing-graham-gibbs.pdf. Accessed December 2018.
  21. Hayes, S., Brandell, D., & Ho, F. (2018). RAw communication and engagement. In O. E. Finlayson, E. McLoughlin, S. Erduran, S., & P. Childs (Eds.), Electronic Proceedings of the ESERA 2017 Conference. Research, Practice and Collaboration in Science Education, Part 17 (co-ed. Jenaro Guisasola), (pp. 2273–2282). Dublin, Ireland: Dublin City University. ISBN 978-1-873769-84-3.Google Scholar
  22. Jensen, E. (2014). The problems with science communication evaluation. Journal of Science Communication, 13(1), 1–3.  https://doi.org/10.22323/2.13010304.
  23. Johnstone, A. H. (2000). Teaching of chemistry—Logical or psychological. Chemistry Education Research and Practice in Europe, 1(1), 9–15.  https://doi.org/10.1039/a9rp90001b.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Markic, S., & Childs, P. E. (2016). Language and the teaching and learning of chemistry. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 17(3), 434–438. https://doi.org/10.1039/c6rp90006b.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McCrory, P. (2011). Developing interest in science through emotional engagement. In W. Harlen (Ed.), ASE guide to primary science education. Hatfield: Association for Science Education.Google Scholar
  26. McHugh, M., & McCauley, V. (2015). Designing physics video hooks for science students. Physics Education, 51(1), 015015.  https://doi.org/10.1088/0031-9120/51/1/015015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Osborne, J., Simon, S., & Collins, S. (2003). Attitudes towards science: A review of the literature and its implications. International Journal of Science Education, 25(9), 1049–1079.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0950069032000032199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Owen, R., Macnaghten, P., & Stilgoe, J. (2012). Responsible research and innovation: From science in society to science for society, with society. Science and Public Policy, 39(6), 751–760.  https://doi.org/10.1093/scipol/scs093.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pelger, S., & Nilsson, P. (2018). Observed learning outcomes of integrated communication training in science education: Skills and subject matter understanding. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 8(2), 135–149.  https://doi.org/10.1080/21548455.2017.1417653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Saldaña, J. (2012). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. London: Sage Publications Ltd.Google Scholar
  31. Selin, C., Rawlings, K. C., de Ridder-Vignone, K., Sadowski, J., Altamirano Allende, C., Gano, G., et al., (2017). Experiments in engagement: Designing public engagement with science and technology for capacity building. Public Understanding of Science, 26(6), 634–649. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662515620970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sutcliffe, H. (2011). A report on responsible research and innovation. MATTER and the European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/document_library/pdf_06/rri-report-hilary-sutcliffe_en.pdf. Accessed August 15, 2018.
  33. Thomas, S. J. (1999). Designing surveys that work! A step-by-step guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  34. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD). (2017). The role of science, technology and innovation in ensuring food security by 2030. New York and Geneva: United Nations. https://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/dtlstict2017d5_en.pdf. Accessed December 9, 2018.
  35. Van Oudheusden, M. (2014). Where are the politics in responsible innovation? European governance, technology assessments, and beyond. Journal of Responsible Innovation, 1(1), 67–86.  https://doi.org/10.1080/23299460.2014.882097.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wahyuni, D. (2012). The research design maze: Understanding paradigms, cases, methods and methodologies. Journal of Applied Management Accounting Research, 10(1), 69–80.Google Scholar
  37. White, R., & Gunstone, R. (1992). Probing understanding. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Woods-Townsend, K., Christodoulou, A., Rietdijk, W., Byrne, J., Griffiths, J. B., & Grace, M. M. (2016). Meet the scientist: The value of short interactions between scientists and students. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 6(1), 89–113.  https://doi.org/10.1080/21548455.2015.1016134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Yin, R. K. (2014). Case study research: Design and methods. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin McHugh
    • 1
  • Sarah Hayes
    • 1
  • Aimee Stapleton
    • 1
  • Felix M. Ho
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre, University of LimerickLimerickIreland
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry - Ångström LaboaratoryUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations