Critical Science Literacy: Making Sense of Science

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


In this “new media” world, more is demanded of citizens in terms of evaluating scientific claims than ever before. Science itself is a social activity. While so-called heuristic (cue-based) processing is often defined as less desirable than systematic (more thoughtful) processing, we are almost all dependent on heuristic cues when evaluating science. Priest argues here that we need to redefine science literacy as involving understanding the social character of science—how science actually works in terms of the collective ability of the scientific community to arrive at consensus-based conclusions through processes of discussion, replication, and review. Naturally those processes are imperfect, but they generate the best knowledge we have. Part of this new “critical” science literacy is understanding the nature of scientific consensus.


Public Engagement Scientific Fact Scientific Truth Scientific Claim Heuristic Processing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanna Priest
    • 1
  1. 1.Camano IslandUSA

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