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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Is there a "science" of science communication?

 This
led me to this.
Introduction: Why Science Communication? Dan Kahan, Dietram A. Scheufele, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Part One  
•  The Science of Communicating Science


1. The Need for a Science of Science Communication: Communicating Science’s Values and Norms Kathleen Hall Jamieson
2. Overview of the Science of Science Communication Heather Akin and Dietram A. Scheufele
3. On the Sources of Ordinary Science Knowledge and Extraordinary Science Ignorance Dan Kahan
4. How Changing Media Structures Are Affecting Science News Coverage Mike S. Schäfer
5. What the Public Thinks and Knows About Science—and Why It Matters William K. Hallman
6. Science Controversies: Can the Science of Science Communication Provide Management Guidance or Only Analysis? Bruce V. Lewenstein
7. A Recap: The Science of Communicating Science Joseph Hilgard and Nan Li

Part Two 
•  Identifying and Overcoming Challenges to Science Featured in Attacks on Science


8. Science as “Broken” Versus Science as “Self-Correcting”: How Retractions and Peer-Review Problems Are Exploited to Attack Science Joseph Hilgard and Kathleen Hall Jamieson
9. Publication Bias in Science: What Is It, Why Is It Problematic, and How Can It Be Addressed? Andrew W. Brown, Tapan S. Mehta, and David B. Allison
10. Statistical Biases in Science Communication: What We Know About Them and How They Can Be Addressed John P. A. Ioannidis
11. Is There a Hype Problem in Science? If So, How Is It Addressed? Peter Weingart
12. Is There a Retraction Problem? And, If So, What Can We Do About It? Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky
13. A Recap: Identifying and Overcoming Challenges to Science Featured in Attacks on Science Joseph Hilgard

Part Three  
•  Science Comunication in Action: Failures and Successes


14. A Comparative Study of Communication About Food Safety Before, During, and After the “Mad Cow” Crisis Matteo Ferrari
15. Cross-National Comparative Communication and Deliberation About the Risks of Nanotechnologies Nick Pidgeon, Barbara Herr Harthorn, Terre Satterfield, and Christina Demski
16. Communications About Biotechnologies and GMOs Across Europe Heinz Bonfadelli
17. A Tale of Two Vaccines—and Their Science Communication Environments Dan Kahan and Asheley R. Landrum
18. A Recap: Science Communication in Action Heather Akin

Part Four  
•  The Roles of Elite Intermediaries in Communicating Science


19. Science Communication at Scientific Institutions Tiffany Lohwater and Martin Storksdieck
20. The Role of Scholarly Presses and Journals Barbara Kline Pope and Elizabeth Marincola
21. The Role of Governmental Organizations in Communicating About Regulating Science Jeffery Morris
22. Science Communication and Museums’ Changing Roles Victoria Cain and Karen A. Rader
23. The Role of Funding Organizations: Foundations Elizabeth Good Christopherson
24. Promoting Popular Understanding of Science and Health Through Social Networks Brian Southwell
25. Designing Public Deliberation at the Intersection of Science and Public Policy John Gastil
26. Translating Science into Policy and Legislation: Evidence-Informed Policymaking Jason Gallo
27. A Recap—The Role of Intermediaries in Communicating Science: A Synthesis Asheley R. Landrum

Part Five 
•  The Role, Power, and Peril of Media for the Communication of Science


28. The (Changing) Nature of Scientist–Media Interactions: A Cross-National Analysis Sara K. Yeo and Dominique Brossard
29. New Models of Knowledge-Based Journalism Matthew C. Nisbet and Declan Fahy
30. Citizens Making Sense of Science Issues: Supply and Demand Factors for Science News and Information in the Digital Age Michael A. Xenos
31.  The Changing Popular Images of Science David A. Kirby
32. What Do We Know About the Entertainment Industry’s Portrayal of Science? How Does It Affect Public Attitudes Toward Science? James Shanahan
33. How Narrative Functions in Entertainment to Communicate Science Martin Kaplan and Michael Dahlstrom
34. Assumptions About Science in Satirical News and Late-Night Comedy Lauren Feldman
35. A Recap: The Role, Power, and Peril of Media for the Communication of Science Nan Li and Robert B. Lull

Part Six  
•  Challenges in Communicating Science in a Polarized Environment


36. Countering False Beliefs: An Analysis of the Evidence and Recommendations of Best Practices for the Retraction and Correction of Scientific Misinformation Man-pui Sally Chan, Christopher Jones, and Dolores Albarracín
37. Using Frames to Make Scientific Communication More Effective James N. Druckman and Arthur Lupia
38. Philosophical Impediments to Citizens’ Use of Science Jonathan Baron
39. Overcoming Confirmation and Blind Spot Biases When Communicating Science Kate Kenski
40. Understanding and Overcoming Selective Exposure and Judgment When Communicating About Science Natalie Jomini Stroud
41. Overcoming Innumeracy and the Use of Heuristics When Communicating Science Ellen Peters
42. Overcoming Biases in Processing of Time Series Data About Climate Bruce W. Hardy and Kathleen Hall Jamieson
43. Understanding and Overcoming Fear of the Unnatural in Discussion of GMOs Robert B. Lull and Dietram A. Scheufele
44. Protecting or Polluting the Science Communication Environment?: The Case of Childhood Vaccines Dan Kahan
45. Overcoming False Causal Attribution: Debunking the MMR–Autism Association Nan Li, Natalie Jomini Stroud and Kathleen Hall Jamieson
46. Overcoming the Challenges of Communicating Uncertainties Across National Contexts Michael Siegrist and Christina Hartmann
47. A Recap: Heuristics, Biases, Values, and Other Challenges to Communicating Science Heather Akin and Asheley R. Landrum

ConclusionOn the Horizon: The Changing Science Communication Environment Dietram A. Scheufele, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, and Dan Kahan

Index
Yikes. Three editors, 59 contributing authors, 508 pages. And, $127.49 Kindle edition (ugh).

Ironically, those communicating about science often rely on intuition rather than scientific inquiry not only to ascertain what effective messaging looks like but also to determine how to engage different audiences about emerging technologies and get science’s voice heard. For decades, one plausible explanation for this state of affairs was the relative absence of empirical work in science communication. This is no longer a problem. As the essays in this volume confirm, researchers in fields as diverse as political science, decision science, communication, and sociology have examined how science can best be communicated in different social settings and in the process have evaluated different approaches to cultivating societal engagement about emerging technologies. A central task of the work in this handbook is distilling what they know about the science of science communication and unpacking how they know it.

By the science of science communication, we mean an empirical approach to defining and understanding audiences, designing messages, mapping communication landscapes, and—most important—evaluating the effectiveness of communication efforts. The science of science communication, as a result, relies on evidence that is transparent and replicable, theory driven, and generalizable. In short, evidence is derived by the scientific method, drawing on theories and methods from disciplines including economics, sociology, psychology, education, and communications science. What makes science communication distinctive is the fact that science’s way of knowing places constraints on communication that are not present in the same way in other forms of communication—for instance, communication about politics…

The audience we envision for this book includes scholars and students interested in understanding the pitfalls and promise of a scientific approach to science communication as well as, but not primarily, those on the front lines tasked with communicating complex and sometimes controversial science to policymakers and the public on consequential topics ranging from nanotechnology and nuclear power to the need for vaccination.

The Science of Science Communication
In 2012, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine took a leadership role in connecting a community of social scientists who were conducting empirical research on different aspects of science communication. Two Sackler Colloquia and two special issues of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences devoted to the “Science of Science Communication” were the result (Fischhoff and Scheufele 2013, 2014). Their intent was both to heighten awareness among bench scientists about empirically based approaches to better communicating science and to promote the exchange of ideas among social scientists working on problems related to science communication in various (sub)disciplines.

Built on the foundations laid by those Sackler Colloquia, this volume is predicated on three major assumption. First, science is not monolithic. Second, the aspects of science or its applications that are being communicated or debated are a function of the nature of the science itself, the types of applications made possible by science or their societal implications, and the social dynamics surrounding emerging science. Finally, communication is an inevitable part of the process of characterizing scientific findings, engagement among scientists about them, and the process of sharing them with policymakers and diverse publics…

(2017-05-08T23:58:59). The Oxford Handbook of the Science of Science Communication (Oxford Library of Psychology). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMIES
Since its inception, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Public Face of Science Initiative has sought to understand and strengthen the relationship between science and society. The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed the critical role science plays in ensuring the well-being—indeed, the very survival—of both individuals and society as a whole. As we face this crisis, we can take some encouragement from the findings of the Public Face of Science Initiative, which show that confidence in scientific leaders has remained relatively stable over the last thirty years. It is worth noting, however, that this confidence varies based on age, race, educational attainment, region, political ideology, and other characteristics.
 
The current crisis has underscored the importance of a society in which everyone has equal opportunity to learn from, engage with, and participate in science. However, revenue losses and budget cuts are having an enormous, and still-evolving, impact on the professional writers, educators, museum curators, outreach organizers, and researchers who are dedicated to building the connections between science and society. While the goals and suggested actions identified throughout this report are more important than ever, they are even further from being realized due to diminished resources and field-wide layoffs. For those with the power and capacity to support the institutions and organizations that provide access to science, now is the time to act. The priorities and goals in this report highlight important means for local science engagement efforts, science journalists, and the scientific community more generally to communicate and engage more effectively… 
I got on this recurrent riff in part in response to a Science Magazine article touting the so-called "Science of Deliberation." There's also, recall, the putative "Science of Success." And, hmmm... how about "Neuroaesthetics" science? more mundanely, "Data Science." A "Science of Compassion?"
 

Oh, and by the way. "I am not a scientist."

 
In a "democracy," citizens are properly among the core decision makers. Hence, science literacy, particularly in the policymaking context, is rather important, ja?

There's no shortage of exigent realities in need of adroit, rational evaluation and decision-making. For starters, beyond pandemic prevention and mitigation, climate change adversity will not disappear.
 
More from Oxford:
Identifying and Overcoming Challenges Featured in Attacks on Science
The overall credibility of science and scientists is higher than that of many communities (Scheufele 2013), with only military leaders eliciting greater public confidence than the scientific community in 2014 (General Social Survey 2012). Nevertheless, popular understanding of how scientists generate knowledge is freighted with misleading simplifications. The gap between how people think science works and how it actually does can itself generate confusion that undermines public confidence.

Climate science communication furnishes a case in point. The popular conception of the “scientific method” envisions scientists “proving” or “disproving” asserted “facts” through conclusive experiments. The contribution that climate science makes to policymaking, however, consists less of experimentally corroborating basic climate mechanisms, most of which are well-known, than it does of establishing how they interact with one another. To generate such understanding, climate scientists use dynamic models, which are iteratively refined and adjusted to take account of new data. Discrepancies between model forecasts and subsequently observed data are expected—indeed, they are the source of progressive improvements in understanding. By design, dynamic modeling enlarges knowledge through its failed predictions as much as through its successful ones (Silver 2012).

Not only did science communicators fail to make this element of climate science clear to the public, but over the past decade, many of them adopted communication “strategies” that elided it. To promote the urgency of action, they depicted the projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports—particularly those of the Fourth Assessment—as extrapolations from settled and incontrovertible scientific findings. But because this framing was selected to accommodate the popular understanding that science warrants confidence based on experimentally “proven” facts, it made climate science more vulnerable to attack by those intent on undermining public confidence in it when, as was anticipated by scientists themselves, actual data diverged from the climate-science model forecasts…
[Oxford Handbook, Kindle loc 502]
'eh?
 
Interesting: One of the editors and contributing writers in this Oxford Handbook is Dan Kahan. I ran into his name in another book I'm reading.
Yale law professor Dan Kahan surveyed Americans about their political views and their beliefs about climate change. As you would expect, those two things were highly correlated. Liberal Democrats were much more likely than conservative Republicans to agree with the statement “There is solid evidence of recent global warming due mostly to human activity such as burning fossil fuels.”

So far, not surprising. The twist is that Kahan also measured his respondents’ “science intelligence” with a collection of different questions: Some were puzzles designed to test reasoning ability, such as “If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?” Other questions were tests of basic scientific knowledge, such as “Lasers work by focusing sound waves—true or false?” and “Which gas makes up most of the earth’s atmosphere: Hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, or oxygen?”

If knowledge and intelligence protect you from motivated reasoning, then we would expect to find that the more people know about science, the more they agree with each other about scientific questions. Kahan found the opposite. At the lowest levels of scientific intelligence, there’s no polarization at all—roughly 33 percent of both liberals and conservatives believe in human-caused global warming. But as scientific intelligence increases, liberal and conservative opinions diverge. By the time you get to the highest percentile of scientific intelligence, liberal belief in human-caused global warming has risen to nearly 100 percent, while conservative belief in it has fallen to 20 percent.

The same funnel-shaped pattern shows up when you ask people for their opinions on other ideologically charged scientific issues: Should the government fund stem cell research? How did the universe begin? Did humans evolve from lower animal species? On all these questions, the people with the highest levels of scientific intelligence were also the most politically polarized in their opinions…


Galef, Julia. The Scout Mindset (pp. 45-46). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
UPDATE
 
Finished The Scout Mindset. Enjoyable read. Not a ton of new ground for me, but worthy nonetheless. Useful "Scout" metaphor.  
 
On deck, pre-ordered (5-18 release):

Amazon blurb:
From the Nobel Prize-winning author of Thinking, Fast and Slow and the coauthor of Nudge, a revolutionary exploration of why people make bad judgments and how to make better ones--"full of novel insights, rigorous evidence, engaging writing, and practical applications” (Adam Grant).

Imagine that two doctors in the same city give different diagnoses to identical patients—or that two judges in the same courthouse give markedly different sentences to people who have committed the same crime. Suppose that different interviewers at the same firm make different decisions about indistinguishable job applicants—or that when a company is handling customer complaints, the resolution depends on who happens to answer the phone. Now imagine that the same doctor, the same judge, the same interviewer, or the same customer service agent makes different decisions depending on whether it is morning or afternoon, or Monday rather than Wednesday. These are examples of noise: variability in judgments that should be identical.
 
In Noise, Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass Sunstein show the detrimental effects of noise in many fields, including medicine, law, economic forecasting, forensic science, bail, child protection, strategy, performance reviews, and personnel selection. Wherever there is judgment, there is noise. Yet, most of the time, individuals and organizations alike are unaware of it. They neglect noise. With a few simple remedies, people can reduce both noise and bias, and so make far better decisions.
 
Packed with original ideas, and offering the same kinds of research-based insights that made Thinking, Fast and Slow and Nudge groundbreaking New York Times bestsellers, Noise explains how and why humans are so susceptible to noise in judgment—and what we can do about it.
All part of a "deliberation science" piece. Whether the topics are judicial, legislative, scientific, or public/social policy deliberations, we need our best honest, objective reasoning efforts, particularly given this time of rampant mis- and disinformation (i.e., shoddy advocacy borne of ignorance and intent respectively).
 
More to come...
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