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Science Communication: A Practical Guide for Scientists Hardcover – December 26, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1119993131 ISBN-10: 111999313X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (December 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 111999313X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1119993131
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,189,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book is an effective manual of how scientists can – and should – engage with the public.”  (Watershed Sentinel, 1 July 2013)

“The book is easy to read and contains many references and consulting it will improve any science communication event.”  (TCE Today.com, 1 November 2013)

“If you want to know more about the history of science communication, how it fits with your day job, or about other people’s experiences then this book will be of value. It is written in an academic style with references to further reading throughout. . . I would recommend this book as an introduction to sci-com.”  (Microbiology Today, 30 August 2013)

“Science Communication – A practical guide for scientists will be an invaluable resource for any scientist wishing to develop their scientific career by starting to engage in science communication or for those who already have experience in science communication and wish to refresh their skills.”  (Nutrition Bulletin, 1 June  2013)

 

From the Back Cover

The public has a fascination with science. This can be both positive and negative as highlighted in the public's perception of recent scientific developments such therapeutic stem cells and Genetic Modification (GM). Science communication is a rapidly expanding area and meaningful engagement between scientists and the public requires effective communication.  Science communication is multi-faceted; it encompasses sociology, psychology, political science and communication studies as well as the science itself.

This book presents a short history of science communication before comprehensively offering ideas, inspiration and practical advice for the design and delivery of effective science communication activity and events. The book uses a variety of case studies written by highly regarded scientists from around the globe to highlight and illustrate areas such as interacting with schools, policy makers, citizen scientists and the general public. This book also offers practical advice such as applying to funding streams, designing activities and events, undertaking effective evaluation as well as the dissemination of best practice. 

This book has been written for scientists at all stages of their career, including undergraduates and postgraduates wishing to engage with effective science communication for the first time,  or looking to develop their science communication portfolio.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JackOfMostTrades VINE VOICE on February 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Besides the British-centered focus of the book, which isn't too much of a hurdle for American writers, I believe this work suffers from what all 'how-to' writing books suffer from. And that is, while you can learn formatting conventions and stylistic strategies from an instruction book, the primary way to learn how to create work for whatever audience, is by imitation, examination, and even, sometimes, trial and error. The latter meaning, providing a draft of your scientific writing, and having someone critique it. At times, the advice, however, is NOT 'practical'. For example, when it 'digs up' old communication 'paradigms' that depict communication something like SENDER->INFORMATION>MEDIUM>RECEIVER> INTERPRETATION and other utterly abstract and unhelpful diagrams. Take it from someone with a Ph.D. in Communications Research, this type of 'flow-chart' is more likely to create information that appears computer generated than human generated, and if one purpose of the book is to encourage scientists to write for the general public, it's about as helpful as providing diagrams for sexual positions to help one become passionate and sensual.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In the campaign for the nomination of the Republican Party for President of the United States, there was a very revealing moment during a debate between the candidates. When asked whether they believed in evolution, some of the candidates openly stated that they did not believe in it. This debate has also been spilling over into the topics to be taught in the public schools where there is constant pressure to downplay evolution and cover nonscientific alternatives.
Public funding for scientific research is also under increasing pressure in many countries as the push for austerity is causing cutbacks in new and continuous research. Some people in science are now openly talking about an entire generation of scientists being lost to the world as they move to alternate careers. Many senior scientists are spending more of their time seeking funding and less and less time engaging in their scientific endeavors.
Given this mix, it is the responsibility of all people in science to do what they can to educate the public regarding the scientific method and the value that science provides to the world. This book contains a set of simple, doable and often inexpensive activities that scientists can do to improve public support and understanding of science. There is also detailed coverage of how scientists can develop their messages and learn how to deliver them.
The spectrum of what can be done is extremely wide, from guest lectures at elementary schools to public lectures to writing op-ed pieces for the print media. There are many ideas in this book, whatever your position in science; there is something in here that you could do to advance science.
Everyone has benefitted from science and they know it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer VINE VOICE on March 12, 2013
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Way back in the 1980s, famous science fiction author and science popularizer Isaac Asimov wrote an essay (which you can read in the anthology Asimov on Science Fiction) in which he pointed out that scientists had to step out of their ivory tower and start engaging the public. He pointed out that in the distant past scientists could work on their own, but now (and he was talking about the 1980s) science is directed/funded by governments - who of course use the tax dollars of the people to do so.

Engagement by scientists is even more important now than it was then. This book is full of a variety of proposals from British scientists, but they can be used just as well in the American mileiu, and it is really needed here. After all, it is here in the US that we still have states that our seriously trying to get creationism taught in schools! So not only do scientists need to engage the public and "open the window" on what scientists do, they also need to combat bad science and pseudo-science.

This book is aimed at the scientists who wishes to communicate with the public, and as you might expect it is laid out in a very scientific way. There's a section on monitroing and evaluating a scientist's event or activity, and how to analyze the results, report the results and assess the impact.

The book provides case studies of scientists who have gone into public schools and engaged students on their level - both "average" students and students involved in science programs - as well as for the general public. Everything is gone into in great detail.

There's also a section of full color photographs which did seem a bit much for a book of this nature (and doubtless adds to the cost.) But that's a minor complaint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Roth VINE VOICE on March 10, 2013
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As someone who has spent years in both clinical and research labs, has been involved in practical education and skills transfer for both young people and adults, and sees the critical need for a better understanding of science by both the general public and policy makers in government, I strongly urge anyone interested in improving communication of science to take a look at this book.

I do have a few caveats that need to be discussed before going further however. This book is strongly Anglo-Centric; the vast majority of case studies involve institutions in the United Kingdom and reference many English programs, policies, and institutions. This may be a little off-putting at first for people living outside the U.K. The authors help by providing information about them and including things like a list of acronyms and a glossary. Once allowance for interpolation is made, the wealth of information to be found here is substantial.

This book is aimed at scientists and people who have a familiarity with the methods and conventions of science - but may not have training in the specialized skills and knowledge needed to communicate science to those without that background. The first three chapters are aimed at getting scientists up to speed, by discussing how science has been disseminated in the past, the institutional tools that have been developed, and aspects of science communication theory. They make a case for public engagement, discuss the different models of learning that apply, and how to engage scientists in the effort.

An underlying theme in the book is that if scientists can't make a case FOR science with the public, they can expect less and less support FROM the public. In these times of austerity for whatever reason, that's not a small concern.
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