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Science engagement

Funders are increasingly recognising the importance of science communication, not just as means of educating the public about research findings, but also as a way of engaging the public in debate about topical issues and promoting dialogue to further inform the process. The resources listed here cover established communication methods but also introduce new approaches to benefit both experienced communicators as well as those who are new to science communication. 

The British Society's Survey of Factors Affecting Science Communication by Scientists and Engineers provides a useful introduction to this topic and Psci-com on the Intute site provides a free catalogue of high quality Internet resources, covering public engagement with science, science communication and the impact of science on society.   

Dialogue with the Public:  Practical Guidelines

Produced by People Science & Policy Ltd for the Research Councils UK and the Office of Science and Technology (2002), this guide aims to help science practitioners achieve more effective communication and dialogue with the public.  Although intended primarily for those relatively new to communicating science, more experienced communicators wishing to expand their repertoire of communication methods will find the "Guidelines" and "Organiser's Checklist" in each chapter provide a useful resource.  The issues pertaining to each stage in the process are well illustrated with examples.  The chapters in the guide address: setting objectives; understanding audiences; attracting audiences; encouraging dialogue within traditional formats; identifying appropriate techniques to facilitate dialogue; and evaluation.

Sciencewise - Expert Resource Centre

Sciencewise-ERC is a UK Government programme, which provides opportunities for people to have their views heard by Ministers and senior civil servants on emerging areas of science & technology to help them develop policies which affect us all.  It consists of a comprehensive online resource of information, advice and guidance, found in the Policy section, about conducting public dialogue together with a wide range of support services aimed at policy makers and all the different stakeholders involved in science and technology policy making, including the public.

Going Public: An introduction to communicating science, Engineering and Technology

A useful introductory guide to science communication published by the Public Understanding of Science, Engineering and Technology office at the Office of Science and Technology and written by Mike Kenward.

A protocol for science communication for the public understanding of science

This protocol for science communication has been drawn together by UCL's Jane Gregory and Steve Miller.  It is based on their book 'Science in Public' (1998) that examined the debates about the nature and role of science, and the presentation of science by the mass media.  It aims to provide a framework for communicating science which meets all the requirements and ideals of those involved including scientists, communicators and the public.  The emphasis is on communication as a dynamic, two-way process, with science-communicators needing to recognise the knowledge and beliefs which the public bring to their interpretation of scientific information. 

Democratic technologies? The final report of the Nanotechnology Engagement Group

Involve's report (2007) for the Nanotechnology Engagement Group summarising the experiences of public engagement on nanotechnologies that have taken place over the last few years.  Drawing on case studies, it provides a really useful summary of tools and techniques, particularly in relation to 'upstream' public engagement, introducing public dialogue early in the engagement process.

Enabling EcoAction - a handbook for anyone working with the public on conservation


Published by the Humane Society International (2003), this is a comprehensive and influential Australian handbook for organisations wishing to promote public involvement in conservation.  Part B contains useful guidance on implementing a successful project.  For each design issue that is examined, there are useful hints and tips on all stages of the process.  Particularly helpful for anyone needing guidance on evaluation and communication with the public.