607   Individual paper

Who is inspiring me? Scientists telling science stories

Author: Giuseppe Pellegrini
Observa Science in Society, Italy, Italy

Research on Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) has been focused to describe different models and activities in order to understand and evaluate the improvement of public understanding of science. The role of scientists is crucial and relevant given in recent years many of them have been involved in communicative actions. It is therefore important to carefully study the ways in which scientists committed themselves in the public sphere communicating to the public of non-experts.

To address this issue, a study aimed to evaluate the researcher communication strategies in public events has been developed. The research was carried out as part of SHARPER (SHaring Researcher's Passions for Excellence and Results), an Italian project developed in the framework of the Researcher's Night funded by the European Commission, one of the biggest events in science communication in Europe that involve 300 cities.

During these events, from 2017 to 2018, information about researcher expectation, preparation and communication strategies were collected. Moreover, the study recorded information on the event organization, management and development. All the outcomes were collected using an ethnographic approach, a type of qualitative research method that combines immersive observation and directed one-on-one interviews.

The results of the study showed several communication strategies that can be combined based on the researchers skills to adopt different communication styles and instruments. Furthermore, the study investigated - for the first time - the ideal models of communicators that researcher would emulate when they engage in the public sphere. The results also showed the  correspondence (or not) between the ideal models and the communication actions. Analyzing different formats of communication, the observation showed how scientists played their role in communicating science to non-experts in different contests: from formal to informal situation.

Co-author: Andrea Rubin
University of Bergamo, Italy

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