Scientists' Prioritization of Communication Objectives for Public Engagement.
ABSTRACT: Amid calls from scientific leaders for their colleagues to become more effective public communicators, this study examines the objectives that scientists' report drive their public engagement behaviors. We explore how scientists evaluate five specific communication objectives, which include informing the public about science, exciting the public about science, strengthening the public's trust in science, tailoring messages about science, and defending science from misinformation. We use insights from extant research, the theory of planned behavior, and procedural justice theory to identify likely predictors of scientists' views about these communication objectives. Results show that scientists most prioritize communication designed to defend science from misinformation and educate the public about science, and least prioritize communication that seeks to build trust and establish resonance with the public. Regression analyses reveal factors associated with scientists who prioritize each of the five specific communication objectives. Our findings highlight the need for communication trainers to help scientists select specific communication objectives for particular contexts and audiences.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC4767388 | BioStudies |