Science Communication: New Frontiers

  • Susanna Priest
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication book series (PSMEC)


This chapter reviews recent trends in the science communication landscape in more detail. Journalism responds to advocacy voices and routinely depends on information subsidies for knowledge of issues and events. This highlights the importance of other knowledge brokers. Despite the “public engagement” movement within science, available data do not show much change in patterns of scientists’ activity. A variety of novel formats for citizen deliberation have been tried, but these are often one-time experiments with limited influence on policy. Environmental groups may find their traditional constituencies reject some potential climate solutions. Meanwhile, the proliferation of Internet-based information sources, operating without journalists as gatekeepers, has profound implications. Studies of information seekers and how they process what they find provide additional insights.


  1. Adler, B. 2014. Why is Environmental Defense Fund Backing Lindsey Graham? Grist.
  2. Azjen, I., and M. Fishbein. 1980. Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Social Behavior. Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  3. Barthel, M. 2015. Newspaper Fact Sheet. Pew Research Center.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015. Climate and Health.
  5. Department of Defense. 2015. DoD Releases Report on Security Implications of Climate Change.
  6. Eagly, A. H., and S. Chaiken. 1993. The Psychology of Attitudes. Harcourt Brace and Janovich.Google Scholar
  7. Feldman, L., and P.S. Hart. 2016. Using Political Efficacy Messages to Increase Climate Activism: The Mediating Role of Emotions. Science Communication 38(1): 99–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fogg-Rogers, L., J.L. Bay, H. Burgess, and S.C. Purdy. 2015. “Knowledge as Power”: A Mixed-Methods Study Exploring Adult Audience Preferences for Engaging and Learning Formats Over 3 Years of a Health Science Festival. Science Communication 37(4): 419–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gandy, O. 1982. Beyond Agenda-Setting: Information Subsidies and Public Policy. Ablex.Google Scholar
  10. Gerken, J. 2012. “I Vote 4 Energy” Video Spoofs American Petroleum Institute Ad Campaign. Huffington Post, January 5.
  11. Global Change Research Program. 2014. National Climate Assessment.
  12. Griffin, R.J., S. Dunwoody, and K. Neuwirth. 1999. Proposed Model of the Relationship of Risk Information Seeking and Processing to the Development of Preventive Behaviors. Environmental Research 80(2): S230–S245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hamlett, P., M. Cobb, and D. Guston. 2008. National Citizens’ Technology Forum: Nanotechnologies and Human Enhancement. Report No. R08-0003. Arizona State University, Center for Nanotechnology and Society.
  14. James, B. 2015. Forget Cable Cord-Cutting: 83% of American Households Still Pay for TV. International Business Times, September 15.
  15. Kosicki, G. M., and J. M. McLeod. 1990. Learning from Political News: Effects of Media Images and Information-Processing Strategies. In Mass Communication and Political Information Processing, ed. S. Kraus, 69–73. Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  16. Lee, M., and M.S. VanDyke. 2015. Set It and Forget It: The One-Way Use of Social Media by Government Agencies Communicating Science. Science Communication 37(4): 533–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lewenstein, B. 1995. From Fax to Facts: Communication in the Cold Fusion Saga. Social Studies of Science 25(3): 403–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McWright, A.M., and R.E. Dunlap. 2011. The Politicization of Climate Change and Polarization in the American Public’s Views of Global Warming, 2001–2010. Sociological Quarterly 52: 155–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Meyer, M. 2010. The Rise of the Knowledge Broker. Science Communication 32(1): 118–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. National Center for Education Statistics. 2015. Digest of Education Statistics: 2013. Report NCES 2015-0011. United States Department of Education.
  21. Newport, F. 2012. Americans, Including Catholics, Say Birth Control is Morally OK.
  22. Orenstein, D. 2009. Futurity, an Online Outlet for Research News, is Launched by Stanford and Other Leading Research Universities.
  23. Priest, S., T. Greenhalgh, H.R. Neill, and G.R. Young. 2015. Rethinking Diffusion Theory in an Applied Context: Role of Environmental Values in Adoption of Home Energy Conservation. Applied Environmental Education and Communication 14(4): 213–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rainie, L., C. Funk, M. Anderson, and D. Page. 2015. How Scientists Engage the Public.
  25. Rogers, E. M. 2003. The Diffusion of Innovations. 5th ed. Free Press.Google Scholar
  26. Saba, J. 2009. Editor & Publisher. Specifics on Newspapers from ‘State of News Media’ Report.
  27. Scheufele, D. 2011. Modern Citizenship or Policy Dead End? Evaluating the Need for Public Participating in Science Policy Making, and Why Public Meetings May Not be the Answer. Research Paper Series No. R-34. Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.
  28. Simon, H. 1956. Rational Choice and the Structure of the Environment. Psychological Review 63(2): 129–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Song, L., and K. Bagley. 2015. EDF Sparks Mistrust, and Admiration, with Its Methane Research. Inside Climate News.
  30. Weingart, P. 2001. Die Stunde der Wahrheit? Zum Verhältnis der Wissenschaft zu Politik, Wirtschaft und Medien in der Wissensgesellschaft [A Moment of Truth? The question of Science’s relation to Politics, Economy and Media in a Knowledge Society]. Velbrück.Google Scholar
  31. Wynne, B. 1989. Sheepfarming After Chernobyl: A Case Study in Communicating Scientific Information. Environment 31(2): 10–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Yang, Z.J., L.N. Rickard, T.M. Harrison, and M. Seo. 2014. Appling the Risk Information Seeking and Processing Model to Examine Support for Climate Change Mitigation Policy. Science Communication 36(3): 296–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanna Priest
    • 1
  1. 1.Camano IslandUSA

Personalised recommendations