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Communicating science: Motives and methods for the communication of science in the 21st century: A qualitative study of selected parts of the Swedish Science Communication establishment, press releases, Expertsvar and the practice of research blogging.

Carl, Bärstad (2011) INN920 20111
Faculty of Engineering, LTH
Abstract
Background: In todayʼs fast moving world, the communication of science and technology
is playing an increasingly important role for the relation between science and the public.
Both journalists and researchers have their own agenda when communicating as public
interest, corporate science and the competition for funding increases. At the same time,
the conditions on which stories about science can be told have dramatically changed with
the 21st century media landscape.
Purpose: The motives for communicating science and the conditions on which to do this
are changing. There is a gap of academic research on this matter. This thesis will attempt
to fill this gap and will do so by exploring new motives to communicate science taking its
... (More)
Background: In todayʼs fast moving world, the communication of science and technology
is playing an increasingly important role for the relation between science and the public.
Both journalists and researchers have their own agenda when communicating as public
interest, corporate science and the competition for funding increases. At the same time,
the conditions on which stories about science can be told have dramatically changed with
the 21st century media landscape.
Purpose: The motives for communicating science and the conditions on which to do this
are changing. There is a gap of academic research on this matter. This thesis will attempt
to fill this gap and will do so by exploring new motives to communicate science taking its
starting point in existing and emerging practices for both researchers and Universities to
communicate science with media and the public. As it takes on a purely qualitative
approach, the hope is to lay out a path with suggestions for further quantitative studies.
Delimitations: Science Communication constitutes many different tools through which
the communication can mediate. These extend the whole spectra of sensory experience,
3
ranging from science festivals where one can touch and feel, to documentaries where one
can hear and see, to articles and blogs where one can read and discuss. This thesis
focuses on the latter, written science communication, mainly because of the changing
conditions that have risen as a result of the rise of ICT and the new media landscape. It
focuses on the press release as a 20th century tool for knowledge dissemination,
contemporary models like ES1 and more interactive models such as research blogs that
have emerged during the 21st century.
Discussion and conclusions: The conditions for researchers, University press staff and
science journalists to communicate science to the public have undergone dramatic
changes as a result of the evolution of ICT. At the same time, the motives for which to
engage in science communication and science journalism are also changing. This part of
the thesis discusses the implications of these changes. It can be concluded that a great
deal of science reporting has been migrating from traditional media to social media, such
as blogs. However, the blog cannot replace traditional media and seems to be better
suited for communicating the scientific process rather than scientific results. It also helps
researchers to build their academic network and develop their writing skills, which is
something that is becoming increasingly important.
As a consequence of a tougher business climate, science journalism is in decline as big
newspapers cut their costs by closing down their scientific departments. At the same time,
the information bureaus of the Universities are growing. With increased competition for
funding and corporate interests in science, the incentives to communicate outwards are
shifting from altruistic towards now being more pragmatic. Although, many researchers
display an altruistic willingness to communicate what they are doing, some of them have
political agendas that may remain hidden due to the lack of balance between the
University Information Bureaus on the one hand, and science journalism on the other.
1 ES (Expert Answer) is a Swedish match-making service, which helps journalists find research
opinions for their material. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Carl, Bärstad
supervisor
organization
course
INN920 20111
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
2164006
date added to LUP
2011-09-21 10:23:24
date last changed
2011-09-21 10:23:24
@misc{2164006,
  abstract     = {Background: In todayʼs fast moving world, the communication of science and technology
is playing an increasingly important role for the relation between science and the public.
Both journalists and researchers have their own agenda when communicating as public
interest, corporate science and the competition for funding increases. At the same time,
the conditions on which stories about science can be told have dramatically changed with
the 21st century media landscape.
Purpose: The motives for communicating science and the conditions on which to do this
are changing. There is a gap of academic research on this matter. This thesis will attempt
to fill this gap and will do so by exploring new motives to communicate science taking its
starting point in existing and emerging practices for both researchers and Universities to
communicate science with media and the public. As it takes on a purely qualitative
approach, the hope is to lay out a path with suggestions for further quantitative studies.
Delimitations: Science Communication constitutes many different tools through which
the communication can mediate. These extend the whole spectra of sensory experience,
3
ranging from science festivals where one can touch and feel, to documentaries where one
can hear and see, to articles and blogs where one can read and discuss. This thesis
focuses on the latter, written science communication, mainly because of the changing
conditions that have risen as a result of the rise of ICT and the new media landscape. It
focuses on the press release as a 20th century tool for knowledge dissemination,
contemporary models like ES1 and more interactive models such as research blogs that
have emerged during the 21st century.
Discussion and conclusions: The conditions for researchers, University press staff and
science journalists to communicate science to the public have undergone dramatic
changes as a result of the evolution of ICT. At the same time, the motives for which to
engage in science communication and science journalism are also changing. This part of
the thesis discusses the implications of these changes. It can be concluded that a great
deal of science reporting has been migrating from traditional media to social media, such
as blogs. However, the blog cannot replace traditional media and seems to be better
suited for communicating the scientific process rather than scientific results. It also helps
researchers to build their academic network and develop their writing skills, which is
something that is becoming increasingly important.
As a consequence of a tougher business climate, science journalism is in decline as big
newspapers cut their costs by closing down their scientific departments. At the same time,
the information bureaus of the Universities are growing. With increased competition for
funding and corporate interests in science, the incentives to communicate outwards are
shifting from altruistic towards now being more pragmatic. Although, many researchers
display an altruistic willingness to communicate what they are doing, some of them have
political agendas that may remain hidden due to the lack of balance between the
University Information Bureaus on the one hand, and science journalism on the other.
1 ES (Expert Answer) is a Swedish match-making service, which helps journalists find research
opinions for their material.},
  author       = {Carl, Bärstad},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Communicating science: Motives and methods for the communication of science in the 21st century: A qualitative study of selected parts of the Swedish Science Communication establishment, press releases, Expertsvar and the practice of research blogging.},
  year         = {2011},
}