Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Investigating Citizens' Experience of Public Communication of Science (PCS) and the Role of Media in Contributing to This Experience (A Case Study on Isfahan Citizens)

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Investigating Citizens' Experience of Public Communication of Science (PCS) and the Role of Media in Contributing to This Experience (A Case Study on Isfahan Citizens)

Article excerpt

Abstract

As new technologies and science continue to flourish in the contemporary world, one may scarcely spot an area of human life still untouched by science and technology - from medicine and healthcare to arts, cinema and music; from construction and architecture to recreation, leisure and sports - all are closely associated with science and technology. Such association and interweavement of science and technology with daily life is so strong that one may contend that they have protruded into daily life and have become a public commodity.Press coverage of science, as an important duct, is to fill the gap between science and the public. Most people, including decision-makers, gain their information from mass media essentially or exclusively.The present study, therefore, aims to Identify the citizens' experience of PCS (the means through which citizens communicate with scientists and research achievements) and Examine the role of media in contributing to PCS and PUS among citizens.

As to research methodology, the present study follows a qualitative method. the focused group technique was used to discover different dimensions of the contribution of media to the increase in public understanding of science and to identify the experiences that citizens have with science communication and the ways in which they communicate with scientists and their familiarity with scientific productions. In this study, a "mixed purposive sampling" was used. Accordingly, three focused groups, each including 8 citizens, were formed. The results of this study are as follows:

The media increase the communicative competence of their addressees through translation and simplification of the scientific notions.

· The role of media in the representation of the mental and cultural lifeworld dominating the society. Through translation and simplification of science and increasing the audiences' ability to communicate with science, media increase public participation in science and technology programs.

· T he representation and transfer of citizens' tacit knowledge in the media, which helps increase public understanding of science and technology.

· The representation of science-related issues in media such as introducing science as the result of human efforts, representing the strengths and weaknesses of science and technology in contributing to human welfare, justifying scientific research and the like in media.

The results of focus group discussions showed that the participants experienced the communication of science in different ways as follows:

· Using such institutions as libraries, scientific societies, science houses, science and technology parks, cultural centers, universities, Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults and non-governmental organizations

· Through reward-based systems such as national and regional awards of science, scientific Olympiads and scientific festivals: 'the promotion of science is popularizing science.'

· Through educational and promotional activities

· And through media such as listening to scientific radio broadcasts , watching documentaries, scientific weblogs and websites ,reading scientific columns in newspapers and watching scientific TV broadcasts.

Keywords: Public communications of sciences; Public understanding of science and technology; Media.

Introduction and statement of the problem

As new technologies and science continue to flourish in the contemporary world, one may scarcely spot an area of human life still untouched by science and technology - from medicine and healthcare to arts, cinema and music; from construction and architecture to recreation, leisure and sports - all are closely associated with science and technology. Home appliances such as electrical devices, cookware, heating and cooling systems; and broadcasting tools such as the radio, television, satellite and the Internet are so widely in use that people cannot help but using them in their daily life and career consistent with their job and education. …

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